Semantic MediaWiki and Me

Stone was right, that photo I posted last night of Sol-R was rubbish. I appologise. But I make no claims to be any sort of a photographer other than one who records the existence of things, and not their particular light-patterns. The photographic collection of 20th century telegraph poles notwithstanding, of course.

Which brings me to Semantic MediaWiki. Or, it doesn’t really, but through some elongated and multi-noded decision tree it does. I am trying to set SMW set up on the FS site, and it’s doing funny things to my head. I even had dreams about it last night! A strange feeling of being unable to bootstrap the whole show: one must set up these data entities (the templates; am I right here?), each comprising some number of properties, and without which it’s odd to set up other entities whose properties are of this entity’s type. Agh. Sleepy brain can’t handle!

Of course, the main problem is that I’m used to building data models in ‘proper’ programming languages, and SMW — or, rather, MediaWiki, with it’s horrible syntax, that I can see I’m just going to have to force myself to love — is a fairly different way of thinking. It’s not vastly different, because still we’re buiding a classic (as in, class-ic, or ‘of class’, as a lecturer of mine used to be fond of distincting [is that a word?]) system, where entities have properties, and those properties have types, and those types are entities. The weird part of it is that wiki pages define all of these, and they define the data!

The point that I’m getting to is that this should make more sense to an OOP programmer than more common ways of doing this. Because an object of a class encapsulates behaviour, structure, and data! So where’s my data in a Java app? In the flippin’ database! And in SMW? Right there: with the structure and behav… oh, hang on… this isn’t a programming language. It has aspects of one. But by gosh it’s annoying to code in….

Well. I didn’t think that out too carefully did I? A vaunting of SMW as somehow making more intuitive sense than a proper language? Silly me. I’m just getting tied up in all that persistent object storage stuff, and I don’t feel up to that on a Thursday (Thursdays are for visiting friends and having a little something, after all!) so I shall give up now.

I’ll get back to building a coming-events-calendar on the FS wiki, which, it turns out, is not such a complicated business after all.


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