Asset management

The last month has been spent traveling. We presented some aspects of the Fabulator engine at the Digital Humanities Summer Institute with somewhat positive reviews and a lot of questions. There’s still a lot of work to do before it is immediately obvious what the benefits of a system like Radiant+Fabulator. Hopefully we can have the core libraries packaged as gems. Radiant 0.9.0 will be able to use extensions that are installed as gems. That will make installation and management much easier.

The current problem we’re grappling with is how to manage files that are uploaded through a web form. We need this in both a digital humanities context as well as the WLC.

What we’re looking at for now is a library that requires certain functions to be defined by the framework using the engine. Mainly, file saving, loading, removal, and modification.

The extension then provides the following functions:

  • asset:store(tag, context)
  • asset:fetch(tag)
  • asset:remove(tag)
  • asset:rename(old, new)

There is also a global attribute (attr:scope) that defines the scope or namespace for the tags. This allows applications to access any file/asset that is saved, but also lets applications define a particular pool of files that they are focused on.

We also define an asset:asset object type that results in the content of the file when converted to a string. This lets us do lazy loading of file contents. If all you want is the metadata about a file, then you don’t have to worry about the system loading everything into memory first.

File uploads are provided to the engine as asset:asset objects. The metadata is available for constraint checking and filtering. If you need to content, then that will be provided as a string. Files are not saved to any storage unless explicitly done so through a call to an ‘asset:store’ or equivalent. Otherwise, it is cleaned up after any transition is run.

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James is a software developer and self-published author. He received his B.S. in Math and Physics and his M.A. in English from Texas A&M University. After spending almost two decades in academia, he now works in the Washington, DC, start up world.