Posts Tagged ‘web’

Electronic Publishing on Rails

Monday, September 6th, 2010

I am currently part of a small but dynamic development team at Common Ground Publishing. We are building an application suite in Ruby on Rails to replace a single monolithic legacy application. Most of my efforts at Common Ground have centered on building their online authoring and publishing environment with active test deployments in Illinois schools. Since starting with Common Ground, I have been involved in every stage of their application lifecycle: gathering user requirements, UI design, database and data model design, implementation, migrating legacy data, testing and production deployment into schools. Key to this process has been its cyclical nature – the developers and designers along with stakeholders attend test-bed deployments to better understand user requirements and gather usability insights. These lessons learned are fed back into our agile development cycle as prioritized backlog items so that we iterate dynamically toward an optimal solution.

For more information on Common Ground software and activities, see their website:

Sal Martirano Digital Archive

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Salvatore Giovanni Martirano, internationally acclaimed American composer and Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois, was my father. In 2008 my family dedicated his collected artistic works and papers to Creative Commons and began transitioning their care to the Center for American Music at the University of Illinois Archives. This process prompted a project to digitize this collection into a flexible, searchable, on-line digital archive. In managing the various phases of this project, it has been my pleasure to work with image and video archivist Matthew Benkert, audio archivist Ken Beck and copyright lawyer Michael Antoline. This 20,000+ item collection encompasses audio-tapes, films, videos, photos, documents, musical scores, letters, computer files and computer code. These items were transferred from a variety of analog formats into hi-resolution digital representations, quality control measurements applied, classified and meta-data tagged and stored in a searchable database. A flexible web-based interface is now under production to serve up these digital objects. This web-interface and database system has been designed to consume other properly organized and meta-data tagged digital collections which have emerged as candidates during this process.

Pentaho Business Intelligence Plug-in

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

I hi-light this project because it demonstrates my ability to quickly grok a large unfamiliar codebase even with little documentation and to make meaningful modifications and contributions to that code. In this case I wrote a Java based plug-in for an open source Business Intelligence Suite by Pentaho Corporation. Grokking the internals of this powerful system was non-trivial but was aided by my experience as the designer of D2K, another data-flow RAD environment for data-integration and data-mining.

D2K – Datamining Infrastructure

Monday, May 31st, 2010

I was the orginal architect and author of this 100% Java data-mining system.  Once known as D2K (Data to Knowledge), this system was most fundamentally a model for designing custom data-mining solutions.  It was as well a rapid application development environment for the development of those solutions with a powerful run-time environment. I wrote the original prototype for D2K while working for the Automated Learning Group at NCSA.  Tom Redman (from the Mosaic project) would soon join the team to create the interface and RAD component of the system.  David Tcheng’s ideas were the intellectual foundations of many of the algorithms implemented within the system.  I did 2 more major rewrites of the infrastructure during my time in the ALG during which time this small research group grew from 3 to well more than a dozen people increasingly focused on some aspect of D2K.  D2K quickly turned into a flagship effort of NCSA and certainly of ALG and subsequently become the central tool for a startup company specializing in real-time analytics: River Glass.  There is now a project underway to develop a next generation evolution of this software, a semantic-driven system called Meandre of which I am only an interested observer.