In the last post I identified some of the strengths and weaknesses of the current www.FreeBSD.org website. As promised, I've collected some specific suggestions that I think would improve the site:
- Better integration with CVSWeb, P4Web, ohloh, and cia.vc. A number of sites offering third party open source metrics have become available in recent years such as ohloh.net and cia.vc. We should ensure that our content is available on those sites and better utilize some of the features they provide. For example, customizable RSS feeds of code changes in specific subtrees should be made available, perhaps even only those changes that match complex search queries. Dynamic lists of the most active developers, or the parts of the source tree that are changing most rapidly could be displayed.
- Enabling comments and feedback on items posted to the site. Readers of the site should have the opportunity to comment on newsflash entries and vote on development project ideas/priorities. Requiring updaters of the site to manually edit news.xml may not be the best way to handle this. Perhaps some kind of blogging software could be used which is then scraped into a static newsflash.html file while providing links back to the official blog to facilitate user comments.
- Integrate with other web sites. Since we have structured data representing events and other content on the site, we could construct links to videos or photos tagged as 'freebsd' on Flickr or YouTube during the days of each conference. There is no excuse for the technical content from any recent BSD conference not ending up there. Likewise, we should automatically update public Google/Yahoo calendars, and allow anyone visiting the site to instantly add an event to the calendar software of their choice.
Some of the particular areas that I'm interested in working on include utilizing the Google Charts API to provide visual representation of our structured data in XML files (events.xml, usergroups.xml, etc..) when appropriate. I wrote some XSLT code to generate some basic maps for the events and usergroup pages this weekend, but further improvements are needed.
I've also written a prototype web application to replace the Ideas database (ideas.xml). This application allows users to add new development project ideas, to comment or vote on existing ideas, to search the database, and to subscribe to RSS feeds of a specific search or the comments and activity on a specific idea.
Thoughts? Comments? Better ideas for improving www.FreeBSD.org? Which open source organizations have particularly useful websites?