A URL design for thinglink.org

This week, Ulla-Maaria and I are having our first face-to-face Thinglink meetings in Amsterdam. We’re discussing a lot of areas that are important to the project: concepts, website, community, technology, standards and many more.

The first technical issue we’ve tackled is the URL structure of the website. Although every thinglink has a reliable URL such as http://thinglink.org/thing:265CII, most of the rest of the site has URLs that are not reliable. They change over time, which makes them impossible to bookmark, to blog about, or to email to a friend.

We want to fix this as soon as possible by tweaking the code behind the scenes, but first we had to decide what the ideal URLs should be. The new URLs, as soon as we’ve implemented them, will look like this:

  • http://thinglink.org/tag/beanie – things tagged ‘beanie’
  • http://thinglink.org/tag/beanie+finland – things tagged both ‘beanie’ and ‘finland’
  • http://thinglink.org/user/ullamaaria – ulla maaria’s profile and list of thinglinks
  • http://thinglink.org/search?q=search+terms – a search for ‘search terms’
  • http://thinglink.org/country/finland – things made in finland
  • http://thinglink.org/year/1989 – things made in 1989

We think this is a good clean structure that we can build on in the
future when we add more features to help people share their
information. For each kind of webpage that these URLs represent, we want to add RSS feeds, and a way for developers to read and write the information using an API.

If you’ve got any thoughts on what kind of feed or API would work best for you, please let us know.

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Thinglinks for Estonian Art and Design

Design Innovation Center at Estonian Academy of Arts has recently decided to build a database of Estonian art and design. The aim is to create a platform that makes artists and designers as well as their work easily approachable to the corporate world and ordinary people.

All the design and artwork in the Estonian database will be tagged with a thinglink, which means that in the future we’ll see plenty of Estonian design on thinglink.org! In Tallin I met with the project leaders, Katri Ristal and Sven Idarand from the Estonian Academy of Arts.


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Traffic jams

There is now more traffic on Thinglink that the service can handle and some activities get jammed. Thank you for your patience!

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Matt Biddulph joins Thinglink

When Matt Jones first heard about Thinglink, he said I should contact his friend Matt Biddulph. He was right, and that was good advice.

A year later I met Matt B. at XTech and we agreed on working together for the next four months. In addition to being an experienced developer in the fields of digital media and social software, Matt is a perfect match with Thinglink, because his previous job was to develop a database for the BBC archives. Currently the BBC Programme Catalogue (now in review process) has details of 950,980 BBC radio & TV programmes from 1,190,271 contributors!

During the summer Matt and I will be working on a white paper for Thinglink, which is a process you can follow (and participate!) on the Thinglink blog.


Photo: urbanwide


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We’re up again

Thinglink.org is up and running again!

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Oops we fell down

The server that runs Thinglink and Aula fell down last night. I hope we can get up without broken bones. Stay tuned…

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Question about Wicket

Stefan Groschupf found a technical problem with the current thinglink.org webpage: links on the webpage change when a web session change. This means that one user cannot send a link to another user, since each user has her own session. The only url that stays the same is the thing page: http://www.thinglink.org/thing:123ABC.

“The way the wicket framework you use handle this kind of page navigation is – let’s say everything else than common. I think you will run into problems since everybody wants to link to a tag or popular year etc. and end up to “page expired”. (…) Also, the search engines will not able to crawl your page.”

Well, that indeed must be fixed. Unless there are some wicket developers out there who can comment on this right away, I think we have to wait for Joni to solve the problem. I think it is this way because we haven’t really planned a proper url architecture for our pages yet.

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Congratulations to Joni!

Joni Suominen, the architect and programmer of Thinglink database, has got married and changed his name to Joni Freeman. Brave! Joni is currently working as a chief software architect at Reaktor Innovations, a Helsinki-based Internet consultancy. Right now Joni is out of reach as he and his wife Stephanie Freeman are on their honeymoon in India.


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Moving servers on Monday

Magenta Sites, the wonderful hosting company that sponsors the hosting for Thinglink, is moving our server to a new location on Monday 29 May. Expected downtime is about 2 hours between 1 and 3 pm Helsinki time (GMT+2).

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Featured makers: York and Sophy

I have many reasons to introduce York Date and Sophy as the first featured makers on Thinglink.

On December 5th, 2005 York wrote me an email asking if he could use thinglinks for tagging his music. At that time we didn’t have a database, only a rudimentary thinglinlink generator on thinglinks.com. But York and Sophy didn’t mind. Instead, they explored the idea of thinglinks and demonstrated how thinglinks work on Google search. As soon as thinglink.org was published, York and Sophy became the first supporters of the project.

York is currently making his master’s thesis about learning in online service development projects at the Graduate School of Business Administration at Kobe University, Japan. Together with Sophy he runs Art Recipes (see also art recipes on Flickr), a project that encourages people to document and share their personal process of artmaking.

Listen to a-hum.mp3 (thing:452XIT) by York and Sophy.

Photos: Yorkers&Hirosophy



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