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The Icon Bar: News and features: RISC OS Products Directory finds new home
 

RISC OS Products Directory finds new home

Posted by Andrew Poole on 21:34, 4/12/2005 | , , ,
 
cogiconRebecca Shalfield of Hypertour Software (which interestingly has no mention of RISC OS) has just got in touch to let us know that their new RISC-OS.net website has gone live. The site is a simpler form of RISCOS Ltd's RISC OS Products Directory.

The RISC OS Products Directory was set up by RISCOS Ltd. and was apparently last updated in January 2005. The new version, on RISC-OS.net doesn't contain as much general information as the RISCOS Ltd. version, but is reported to be slightly more up to date, and allows developers to add their own software to the database rather than having to request that it be added.

Of course, there are still other RISC OS Links directories out there, such as Google Directory Category, The ANS Filebase, Paul Vigay's Links Directory (which has just been overhauled again) and the now somewhat out of date (and similarly named) RISCOS.net.
 

  RISC OS Products Directory finds new home
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Andrew Poole Message #94008, posted by andypoole at 21:52, 4/12/2005
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I'd like to dispute the "No Dead Links Guaranteed!" claim on there though.. There's loads of them...
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Gunnlaugur Jonsson Message #94009, posted by Gulli at 22:38, 4/12/2005, in reply to message #94008
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Maybe they just don't want to guarantee that they'll include dead links?
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Andrew Poole Message #94010, posted by andypoole at 22:57, 4/12/2005, in reply to message #94009
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True...
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Steve C Message #94011, posted by Steve at 07:52, 5/12/2005, in reply to message #94010
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Don't forget the Filebase - http://www.filebase.org.uk
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Andrew Poole Message #94012, posted by andypoole at 12:12, 5/12/2005, in reply to message #94011
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Whoops... *clickety*
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Kris Adcock Message #94013, posted by krisa at 13:54, 5/12/2005, in reply to message #94012
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Posts: 62
You know what we could /really/ do with? A directory for all the directories.

Cough ...

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Gavin Wraith Message #94014, posted by Gavin at 12:58, 6/12/2005, in reply to message #94013
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Posts: 31
There is an item in SW.Programmer that was originated by me over 6 years ago! Broken link, wrong email address etc. I am curious as to why Ms Shalfield has gone to the trouble. None of her copious websites give any means of contacting her, let alone of correcting false or outofdate information. It makes me wary of offering stuff to databases. Perhaps we should insist on a users' charter for such things, to regularize communications between database maintainer and item supplier. Can anybody think of a way of making items time out? In the end Disinformation Technology is its own Nemesis, but I would like to do something about it now.
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Martin Wynn Message #94015, posted by Mart at 14:19, 6/12/2005, in reply to message #94014
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Gavin, Not strictly true, there is an address etc. on the ordering page of the website.
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Gavin Wraith Message #94016, posted by Gavin at 15:47, 6/12/2005, in reply to message #94015
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Posts: 31
Thanks for that Mart - I had not looked hard enough. I stand by my general point, though. The Castle software database is a good one because authors themselves can update their submissions. Most of the other databases, though, are positively harmful because a large proportion of their content is out of date and they provide no easy mechanism for corrections.
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Steve C Message #94017, posted by Steve at 17:26, 6/12/2005, in reply to message #94016
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Posts: 95
I think there's a fine line between allowing authors to update software information and preventing junk from being added to the system. The Filebase allows registered users to update/add data, but doesn't allow anonymous editing. (Just look at the problems with Blog spam if you want to see what can happen with anonymous access)
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Gavin Wraith Message #94018, posted by Gavin at 18:39, 6/12/2005, in reply to message #94017
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I would certainly not like to put any items of mine in a database allowing anonymous access. In innocent years gone by I may have done so. I would like to see some charter drawn up that DB maintainers could subscribe to, detailing the obligations of DB maintainer and information providers. Each item should display a date indicating the last time that the provider verified that the data were correct. If the date is over a year old maybe the DB should check whether the provider is dead? Items should make clear which versions of RISC OS they work with; also the version numbers of modules that they require. The details should be a matter of public debate.
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Ian Cook Message #94019, posted by ilcook at 22:40, 6/12/2005, in reply to message #94018
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I think Gavin's suggestions make sense.
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Kris Adcock Message #94020, posted by krisa at 09:26, 7/12/2005, in reply to message #94019
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Posts: 62
Here's my suggestion: Every developer who wants their products listing on a database writes an XML file (with a set standard) and sticks it on their webspace somewhere. They then submit that URL to the database. The database keeps all these URLs, and grabs them once every few days and then autogenerates the database from that. That way, developers can ensure that the information (links, version numbers, new products) are always up to date, and dead links should last no more than a day or two.

Far better than every developer remembering to visit a badly-written site and try to get their details obtained, and far better than some mad "spider" system that tries to rip off every freeware application and store it itself, and doesn't even provide a link to the author's homepage!

If we want /any/ such RISC OS website to be successful, we must realise that it will only work if it is a collaborative effort that EVERYONE can help to maintain. Websites that someone creates and tries to maintain on their lonesome are normally doomed to stagnate.

We need to do it together - group hug! :)

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Gunnlaugur Jonsson Message #94021, posted by Gulli at 11:28, 7/12/2005, in reply to message #94020
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I think a "polling system" would be required, maybe to go along with Krisa's idea, to check wether contact information (e-mail address) is actually still working. The database would send a periodic e-mail forcing the developer to click a link in order to renew the product registration. Maybe even force them to re-enter some randonm information so that the renewal can't be done by a bot.

If a developer can't be bothered to reply to such polling maybe once a year their product would simply be dropped from the database or declared "dead".

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Paul Vigay Message #94022, posted by pvigay at 11:59, 7/12/2005, in reply to message #94021

Posts: 200
Well, the www.riscos.org software database has the facility for developers to login and edit their own details, each with their own username and password. :-)
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Richard Goodwin Message #94023, posted by rich at 14:53, 7/12/2005, in reply to message #94022
Rich
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Hmm... yes, this new one lets you add stuff, but a quick look doesn't show an easy way to contact them to update stuff. For instance, (!)HTML3 is included twice under different URLs (pointing to the same place), and the developer is listed as HTML3 also. It would benifit from some front page design too, rather than the rather bleak automatically generated list.

With regards to entries being timed out after a year as has been suggested above, I can't see the point - if the software still exists then people may still want to use it, updated or no; and if the software doesn't exist should be removed straight away under the "no dead links" promise. If people aren't removing dead links they're not going to bother with time-outs :)

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Paul Vigay Message #94024, posted by pvigay at 17:02, 7/12/2005, in reply to message #94023

Posts: 200
I actually tend to deliberately leave dead links in my own database. This is because I don't want old bits of software to be forgotten about. I'd rather leave it in place, and open the discussion for people to say "Where's XYZ now - the link is dead" whereas if I just removed everything, we'd potentially lose loads of interesting bits of old software, and quite often people email me to say they stumbled across an out of date link, providing me with the new one - if the link had been deleted, they wouldn't be prompted into doing that!
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Gavin Wraith Message #94025, posted by Gavin at 17:23, 7/12/2005, in reply to message #94024
Member
Posts: 31
I think Krisa's idea is a good one. It relieves the DB maintainer from all effort except the initial installation of the polling script and the poll-list script. In the same way it relieves author's of the need to contact the DB maintainer (unless the scripts have bugs in) - all that is required is an appropriate XML template for the authors to update when their software is updated. This has to be the way to go.
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Gavin Wraith Message #94026, posted by Gavin at 17:25, 7/12/2005, in reply to message #94025
Member
Posts: 31
I think Krisa's idea is a good one. It relieves the DB maintainer from all effort except the initial installation of the polling script and the poll-list script. In the same way it relieves authors of the need to contact the DB maintainer (unless the scripts have bugs in) - all that is required is an appropriate XML template for the authors to update when their software is updated. This has to be the way to go.
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Gavin Wraith Message #94027, posted by Gavin at 17:25, 7/12/2005, in reply to message #94026
Member
Posts: 31
I think Krisa's idea is a good one. It relieves the DB maintainer from all effort except the initial installation of the polling script and the poll-list script. In the same way it relieves authors of the need to contact the DB maintainer (unless the scripts have bugs in) - all that is required is an appropriate XML template for the authors to update when their software is updated. This has to be the way to go.
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Gavin Wraith Message #94028, posted by Gavin at 17:31, 7/12/2005, in reply to message #94027
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Posts: 31
Sorry folk - my first comment contained a horrible horrible howler (spotted it?). I thought the system was letting me edit it, but it wasn't, it was just posting another comment. When I looked at the comments, the original unedited one was there, for the world to see my blooper. So I edited again. How do you edit a comment, please?
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Phil Mellor Message #94029, posted by monkeyson2 at 17:50, 7/12/2005, in reply to message #94028
monkeyson2Please don't let them make me be a monkey butler

Posts: 12380
> How do you edit a comment, please?

Get admin rights ;)

Hey Rich, the delete code doesn't work either! :P

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Kris Adcock Message #94030, posted by krisa at 18:27, 7/12/2005, in reply to message #94029
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Posts: 62
Gavin thinks my idea is /SO/ good, he says it thrice! :)

I'm happy to implement such a system (I have servers running on T'Internet 24/7, and I work with PHP and MySQL so it shouldn't be too hard) but I don't particularly want to add ANOTHER directory to those that already exist. And developers would have to want to adopt such a system.

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Phil Mellor Message #94031, posted by monkeyson2 at 18:46, 7/12/2005, in reply to message #94030
monkeyson2Please don't let them make me be a monkey butler

Posts: 12380
Could this be done with RSS? (Possibly extended to cover the extra information)
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Richard Goodwin Message #94032, posted by rich at 13:08, 8/12/2005, in reply to message #94031
Rich
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> How do you edit a comment, please?

Get admin rights

Hey Rich, the delete code doesn't work either!

Don't tell me - tell one of the guys who's supposed to fix these things even before we know they're broken. That would be either Mr. Andrew Duffell or Mr. Jeffrey Lee I believe... or whoever it was that added funky_parse in the first place ;)

It also appears that nested quotes don't work!

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Bent Bracke Message #94033, posted by grek1 at 20:51, 9/12/2005, in reply to message #94032
Member
Posts: 5
krisa:
How about defining / describing the structure of the XML file and making that description public while leaving the reading of such XML files up to existing databases. That would avoid creating another database site and would add the desired features to some (those still being maintained) of the databases.
Hopefully (naive?) the site maintainers could be persuaded to implement this.
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Richard Goodwin Message #94034, posted by rich at 00:38, 11/12/2005, in reply to message #94033
Rich
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It might be best to base it on RSS - it's a simple(ish), well defined and well understood standard that has the added benifit that people could subscribe to it directly for updates (if they're that desperate!).

The RSS could include pretty much everything you need: the details of the site; the owner of the site, or include individual author details for certain bits of software; last updated and so on. You could even use the enclosure tag to point to the software, and automatically download new versions using the same mechanism that podcasts do.

Now someone just needs to write a RISC OS desktop app that stores your progs as a simple text-based database and outputs properly formed RSS... might give that a shot myself over Christmas!

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Bent Bracke Message #94035, posted by grek1 at 11:30, 11/12/2005, in reply to message #94034
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rich wrote: ... might give that a shot myself over Christmas!

That would be great!

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Richard Goodwin Message #94036, posted by rich at 15:22, 11/12/2005, in reply to message #94035
Rich
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http://www.iconbar.com/forums/viewthread.php?threadid=7330
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Jeffrey Lee Message #94037, posted by Phlamethrower at 19:41, 11/12/2005, in reply to message #94036
PhlamethrowerHot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot stuff

Posts: 15096
*finally reads this news article*

Here's my suggestion: Every developer who wants their products listing on a database writes an XML file (with a set standard) and sticks it on their webspace somewhere. They then submit that URL to the database. The database keeps all these URLs, and grabs them once every few days and then autogenerates the database from that. That way, developers can ensure that the information (links, version numbers, new products) are always up to date, and dead links should last no more than a day or two.

I thought of that last year, but no-one involved in the project seemed to have enough time/knowledge to design the XML schema we should use.

http://nutshells.anjackson.net/node/view/804

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