I’ve been pretty busy this last week on the database, though I haven’t committed a lot of it to this blog–I have, however, been updating the project on GitHub, which has been a lot easier to use now that I have a project that needs version control in this specific way. Most of my time has been spent taking things out, putting things in, tweaking the xql, reverting to the original, and starting over, in between posting to and reading around on the eXist forum, as I learn how to untangle the samples.
The most important things to note are 1.) I have pre-ordered the eXist O’Reilly book by Adam Retter and Erik Siegel–it should ship in November, if I’m lucky! 2.) I got the search query results to return and display correctly, and I’m learning how those features work. 3.) I put some page images into the Mary Hays file, and got them to display both in browse and in query return modes–that’s pretty exciting for me! It’s not an elegant solution, and I have a lot of work to do, but there’s a brute force version of it there now.
Next up I think are some pretty big issues, I think–definitely more conceptual in nature. How should I display the page images, for instance? I want to keep the elements inline with the xml, but it may be more elegant to display them in a side bar or a footer, so as not to interrupt the flow of reading. The page images should be thumbnailed, with full sized images behind them. The big question here is how to automate this, which is likely also determined by how the images are stored. Another conceptual issue that’s arisen has to do with incorporating images as primary interests in the database–though this may be something to consider in a later iteration. Currently, the textual transcription and markup is the primary focus, with the page images functioning as secondary visual resources. But what if I were to incorporate paintings, or photographs of material objects? Even if I don’t want to do this here, it may be something that others would want, so considering it now is probably a god idea. I’ll also need to begin marking up major topics in each xml file, which will also mean making sure the structure overall is solid and that I have a good topic schema. Users should be able to at least see a list of topics marked up as such in each file, though ultimately I’ll want to incorporate that as a search feature, but I don’t want to have to re-do everything when I incorporate the mallet module, eventually. More details in the readme!