SourceLabs Updates Community Tool

The new Swik provides a new interface and lets users build and add an unlimited amount of wiki pages to document open source projects.

SourceLabs Inc. Wednesday announced a new release of its community-based catalog of open source projects.

Cornelius Willis, vice president of Seattle-based SourceLabs, said the company has basically re-written its Swik online community tool for researching and sharing open source project information. The new Swik provides a new interface and lets users build and add an unlimited amount of wiki pages to document open source projects, Willis said.

Swik also now provides more in-depth categorization, wiki text support, international character support and new ways to collaborate, said Alex Bosworth, a developer at SourceLabs and the creator of Swik. Bosworth said more than 3,500 projects have been entered on Swik since its release in July 2005 and those projects are already in the new release of Swik.

New features in Swik include a new user interface with new design and navigation. Meanwhile, Swik now enables users to add an unlimited number of wiki pages to any open source project page, and users can also create their own personal wiki pages on Swik to document and share their experiences with open source software. In addition, Swik enables users to tag all the pages to organize them and help other people find useful information, and it features Wiki text support.

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Swik also now provides blog and bookmarks wiki pages, so users can create and collaborate on a list of bookmarks, or create blogs about open source software. And Swik-based blog posts that users make about open source will appear on the project pages of the projects the user mentions in the blog.

"We got a lot of feedback from international users so we built in full international support," Bosworth said. Users can now enter text in any language represented by Unicode, the international standard for multilingual character encoding, he said.

Swik also now uses the supports Description of a Project standard for describing an open source project, Bosworth said.

"The whole idea is to give the community the tools they need to document open source," Willis said.

Bosworth said he also revamped the system using AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) and "we automatically populate projects when you look for them. We start adding information from the Web."

Swik already used RSS technology, where users could enter a project not already in its database, and the tool would go out and automatically search and build information or an entry for that project from existing syndication feeds and populate the Swik database, the company said.

"One of the biggest non-specific requests was people wanted an open repository," Bosworth said.

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