Now Available: Beta Two Release of Content Model-driven Fedora 3.0
Submitted by on Tue, 2008-06-17 10:43
Ithaca, NY — The second beta release of the popular Fedora software is now available for testing. The second beta version of Fedora 3.0 completes most of the features planned for the general release of the software. As Dan Davis, Chief Software Architect, Fedora Commons, explains, “This release is ready for early adopters to use as a test and development platform to prepare for Fedora 3.0. While there are a few features and documentation to complete, most of the work left to be done is extensive testing including scalability and to ensure the quality of the final product.”
Fedora 3.0 features the Content Model Architecture (CMA), an integrated structure for persisting and delivering the essential characteristics of digital objects in Fedora. The software is available at http://www.fedora-commons.org/ and at http://sourceforge.net/projects/fedora-commons/. The Fedora CMA plays a central role in the Fedora architecture, in many ways forming the over-arching conceptual framework for future development of Fedora Repositories.
Like a well-thumbed book on a shelf, digital content is stored with the expectation that intellectual works will be the same each time they are accessed, whether the content was put away yesterday, or many years ago. Fedora is a simple, flexible and evolvable approach to delivering and sharing the “essential characteristics” of enduring digital content. Librarians, archivists, records managers, media producers, authors and publishers use patterns of expression formats such as books, journals, articles, collections to convey the essential characteristics of content. The capabilities of digital tools combined with essential characteristics of digital works result in well-understood patterns of expression for different types of content models.
The software engineering community also utilizes patterns of expression for the development of complex computer systems. The same concepts that satisfy agile IT infrastructures can help provide solutions for creating, accessing and preserving content. The Fedora CMA builds on the Fedora architecture-downloaded more than 18,000 times in the last 12 months – to simplify use while unlocking potential.
Dan Davis explains the CMA in the context of Fedora 3.0, “It’s a hybrid. The Fedora CMA handles content models that are used by publishers and others, and is also a computer model that describes an information representation and processing architecture.” By combining these viewpoints, Fedora CMA has the potential to provide a way to build an interoperable repository for integrated information access within organizations and to provide durable access to our intellectual works.
We encourage the Fedora community to download and experiment with Fedora 3.0 Beta 2. It is particularly important to receive comments while the software is still being developed to help ensure this important update to the Fedora architecture meets the needs of the community. Please contribute your observations and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Fedora 2.2.2 will remain available for all production repository instances.
REST API (Experimental)
A simple web interface for managing and modifying objects is an item on many Fedora Users’ wish lists. For the release of Fedora 3.0 Beta 1 developer Matt Zumwalt, MediaShelf, decided to take the lead by creating API-M LITE. Zumwalt says, “The idea of RESTful interfaces has gotten a lot of traction lately, especially in the Ruby world. It seemed like a good fit for Fedora, so MediaShelf decided to make it happen. I have been using the API since August and am certain that it will enable all of us to start using Fedora in radical new ways. We are very happy to contribute this code to Fedora Commons and look forward to making further contributions in the future.”
New versions of the GSearch and DirIngest services releases are available today. These service releases make GSearch and DirIngest compatible with Fedora 3.0 Beta 2. The GSearch release from Gert Schmeltz Pedersen also enables JMS messaging support for GSearch, which allows for more robust and seamless integration with the Fedora repository.
The release of Fedora 3.0 is made possible by a collaborative partnership with community developers and the Fedora core software development team that include: Chris Wilper (Fedora Commons), Eddie Shin (Fedora Commons), Bill Branan (Fedora Commons), Robert Haschart (Fedora Commons), Ross Wayland (Fedora Commons), Gert Schmeltz Pedersen, Matt Zumwalt (API-M LITE, Media Shelf), Cuong Tran (API-M LITE, Digital Innovation South Africa), and many others.
Overview of New Features in Fedora 3.0 Beta 2 Release:
- Content Model Architecture – Provides a model-driven approach for persisting and delivering the essential characteristics of digital content in Fedora
- Fedora REST API – A new API that exposes a subset of the Access and Management API using a RESTful Web interface contributed by MediaShelf
- Mulgara Support – Fedora now supports the Mulgara 1.1.1 Semantic Triplestore replacing Kowari
- Migration Utility – Provides an update utility to convert existing collections for Content Model Architecture compatibility
- Relational Index Simplification – The Fedora schema was simplified making changes easier without having to reload the database and significantly increasing scalability
- Dynamic Behaviors – Object may be added or removed dynamically from the system moving system checks into runtime errors
- Error Reporting – Provides improved runtime error details
- Multiple Owner as a CSV String – Enables using a CSV string as ownerID and in XACML policies
- Java 6 Compatibility – Fedora may be optionally compiled using Java 6
- Relationships API – API-M has been extended to enable adding, removing and discovering RDF relations between Fedora objects
- Revised Fedora Object XML Schemas – The new schemas are simpler, supporting the CMA and removing Disseminators
- Atom Support – Fedora objects can now be imported and exported in the Atom format
- Messaging Support – Integrates JMS messaging for sending notification of important events
- Many new enhancements! (see: Release Notes)
Overview of Features Planned for the Fedora 3.0 Final Release:
- Basic Validation Testing – A feature that provides system operators a way to validate the integrity of part or all of their repository, based on content models
- Final 3.0 Documentation Updates – Much of the documentation has now been updated to be current with the 3.0 features; the remaining set of updates will be completed for 3.0
- 3.0-Compatible Service Releases – Shortly after the Beta 2 release, we will be releasing new versions of the OAI Provider and GSearch services that are compatible with Fedora 3.0