[Rubygems-developers] Suggestions: categories and querying

Mauricio Fernández batsman.geo at yahoo.com
Fri Sep 17 11:40:17 EDT 2004

On Fri, Sep 17, 2004 at 09:30:30AM -0400, Chad Fowler wrote:
> Thanks for the long and obviously well thought out response, Eivind.  I 
> can't say I completely agree with you, but I _do_ agree that RubyGems 
> should not add any kind of categorization right now (or possibly ever). 
>  I also believe that rpa-base should not add categorization.  I think 

Since RPA is the major (as of now nearly *only*) provider of packages
for rpa-base, we can suit the technology to the needs of RPA and its
users. Adding classification information to the packages themselves is
obviously useful. Of course, that makes no sense for RubyGems since
there's no central body controlling the quality of the packages and
ensuring the categorization isn't bogus.
[This is the kind of things that prove that it was a good idea to have
RPA use a tailored technology after all.]

> it's in the scope of something at the RPA level, but should be 
> completely left out of the _packages_ themselves.

As I said, since rpa-base is RPA's port/package manager, there's no need
for a total separation between both.

> I would be open to adding keywords to gems, but I would want to think 
> it through a lot more.  Keywords may be single-level hierarchies, but 
> being single-level (and therefore not _really_ hierarchies), they don't 
> carry with them the same commitment to a structure that may or may not 
> be right.  They can be used to help someone find a library or 
> application without forcing a rigid classification system.

This is what I thought --- if you've read my first response to Gavin,
you'll have seen that I believe rpa-base's classification.rb is *not*
what you want and that you'll probably end up having a "self-organized"
keyword-based classification.
However, as Eivind indicates, the usefulness of such a categorization
will be limited, and necessarily inferior to that of one managed by a
specialized team.

> Finally, I'm not convinced that a hierarchy is the way to go at all.  I 
> would even go so far as to say that hierarchical classification for 
> this kind of computer-based purpose is obsolete. 
It is hard to do and requires knowledgeable people, but it has worked
fine for a community that knows much more about that problem space than

> And, as you've 
> pointed out, they are almost unusable for self-organizing 
> system/communitiies.

Right, that's why RubyGems cannot use it.

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batsman dot geo at yahoo dot com

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