A “private alpha” launch

August 17th, 2009 by Terry Jones. Filed under Uncategorized.

babyWe’re launching FluidDB in a private alpha phase. In a way though, that makes no sense. if it’s launched, then how come it’s still private?

FluidDB is launched in the sense that it’s up and running, and we’ve opened up the documentation and discussion groups. Also, anyone can reserve a FluidDB username.

By a private alpha, we mean that you’ll have to get individual approval to make FluidDB API calls. To do that, please email us. In other words, we’re for now restricting the number of people who can write programs that use FluidDB.

We’re doing that because we need to watch FluidDB carefully as programmers begin to use it. We’ve taken the “release something as soon as you possibly can” approach, and so there’s a lot that we’re planning to do to help FluidDB mature.

Think of the private alpha phase as being similar to what happens when a child is born. Only close family members are invited to the hospital to have a first look. Once home, a wider group of friends starts dropping by. With care the child grows stronger and is able to cope with the world at large. FluidDB is still something like an infant. It’s very real: it’s up and it works, but it needs some monitoring and supervision before we can let it go out to play with the world.

We hope this makes sense. Thanks for your understanding and patience.

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  • Congrats, I’m looking forward to playing with it.

  • Glenn Willen

    I just read the documentation, and having put a bit of thought into such systems myself, I have a question about it.

    I see it as likely that a very common desire will be the following: Multiple people want to indicate differing opinions of the same property of an object. For example, suppose multiple people want to give their differing opinions of a movie; but they agree on the scale they are using, and want to semantically indicate that they are both giving _different values_ for the _same property_.

    What’s the mechanism for doing this under FluidDB? I saw a passing reference in the documentation to being able to tag tags (and not merely objects). If so, it seems like there is a viable, if slightly complex, approach that could be used here: meta-tags.

    I expose the tag gwillen/meta/movie-review. I tag _it_ with “about: Meta-tag used to tag tags which represent movie reviews on a five-star scale.” Then I tag gwillen/movie-review with gwillen/meta/movie-review; and susie tags susie/movie-review with gwillen/meta/movie-review. Now it’s possible for us both to give our opinions of the same movie, and for a third party to know that we are using the same semantics.

    This seems like an awful lot of work. 🙂 Is there an easier way? Has thought been given to this use-case / is it seen as being a likely one?

    In my own mental model of a system much like FluidDB, I had always imagined multiple people directly giving different values to the same tag on the same object, and that the values, rather than the tags themselves, would have permissions on them. (So instead of the unique key being object*tag, it would be object*tag*owning-user.) This is of course because of the use-case I was mentioning above, in which I use tags to assign semantics to values, but not ownership.

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