Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tools and Intro to P2P Collaboration

OK, after researching, experimenting, and building, I can report on collaboration via P2P.

First, to restate the goal: I want to share family histories and other files, some with just my family and some with the whole world, and do it in a way that we all share the benefits as we each work on our own copies.  Yes, I said "copies": everyone should be able to play with all their data, on their own machine, with whatever tools they choose.  For more sample uses, see

Now, a single paragraph for this year in review: after failing to create a workable plugin for one P2P program, I found that all file sharing is not equal, but it's close enough... so it seemed a good idea to make something to cooperate with most file-sharing tools/models.  Thus began P2P-Docs, a program to keep track of your file libraries as well as the other copies of similar content that other people might be working on.  You point it to the files that others are sharing with you ("incoming") and the files that you are sharing with others ("outgoing"), and it will assist you in reviewing and reconciling changes as they get passed around.  It's wrapped with a simple search program, mostly to make it attractive bait for my relatives to be able to search for stories in our shared family histories.  So it feels good to have a deliverable as well as more instructions for actual use.

I've started inviting family and friends to share files.  I hope to have some back-and-forth collaboration before RootsTech 2012.  If you'd like to test out some sharing, contact me.

So... you can see there's a bunch of items that are "not done yet" in my project README.  I want to make these tools and instructions more useful for transferring files.  I'm most excited to give my peeps good tools to search through their information; I love the idea of organizing content by assigning semantics.  It's meaningful work (ha!).  But seriously... someday I assume our computers will parse through all our content and understand it completely enough that it can find everything for us... but even then, we determine what is interesting and important, and we'll apply these values as we search for answers and/or meaning in the electronic records being gathered.  Anyway, if you're interested in any aspect of this, well, interest is what drives what I do, so let's talk.  :-)