MMLab – The beginning of new semantic websites

Hey! Welcome to the first blogpost about MMLabs’ new Drupal website.
First week we spent at TRAKK Namur, a beautiful sunny place where we started working for the base of the website. Now we’re working from Digipolis Ghent, currently slightly less sunny but equally fun.

Introduction to teamAwesome

Behold teamAwesome in its full glory.

Umut

Back-end developer

Dieter

Back-end developer

Chris

Front-end developer

From top to bottom we have, Umut (=that’s me), Dieter and Chris.

About MMLab

Now before we jump in, let’s tell something about MMLab. MMLab is a research group within Ghent University. It was founded in 2001. This lab does research on a lot of topics. But to keep it short, one of these topics is actually semantic web. So in order for MMLab to stay up-to-date with the current World Wide Web, and to be more in touch with their research, TeamAwesome got the task to create a completely new website for MMLab.

Current progress

In a very short time, we managed to put the base of the new website together. We’ve made it possible to create content using RDFa and Schema.org tags. I’ve done some research on how to integrate social media on a website and how to export existing content to a file. That means that RSS-feeds, a Twitter share button etc. will be added next week.

 

Oh and if you are wondering why we want to export content, we have some pretty good reasons. While developing the website, content gets stored in a database (ex. mysql). The problem with that is that the data will be lost when merging. We could work on the same online database to not lose any data we created but unfortunately the developing will go very slowly, because the server will get a lot of requests. Imagine a big corporation with 100 people working on the same database… it won’t end pretty well 😉

 

Besides that, using a handy EasyRdf API, Dieter made a custom module to get the wanted document of the current page. For example, you want the json-ld/turtle document? No problem! Simply put ‘.jsonld/.ttl ‘ behind the URL ‘www.example.com/home’ and voila.

 

Last but not least, Chris made a theme according to the style rules of Ghent University using Zen theme as base. The style rules are a little outdated (they date back from 2008) but he still managed to create a pretty good looking beta theme. You can read a little bit about it in his blogpost.

 

Next time…

We will be telling more in depth on how the modules are configured and used. For example: How can content with tags be exported using Features module? So stay tuned for next week, more news will come from our development at Digipolis Ghent!

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