Saturday, August 13, 2011

Fluidinfo.com is like a Wikipedia for databases


What if there was a database that stored everything?  I know that sounds like a tall order but consider that Wikipedia strives to have a page for everything the question.  Having a database that stores everything doesn't sound so absurd and it is the idea behind fluidinfo.com.  Fluidinfo wants to be able to store meta-data regarding everything (or as close as physically possible).  

The idea behind Fluidinfo is that read-only information is just not as useful as on the Web as openly writable information.  Metadata is used routinely in the real world from name tags to post-it notes but it is much harder to apply metadata to information on the Internet.  That is where Fluidinfo comes along.  When information needs to be stored about an object the Fluidinfo database is queried.  If the object exists in Fluidinfo, the information is appended to the object.  If the object does not exist then it will be created and stored.  

So if anyone can add information then can't people just deface Fluidinfo?  No, permissions are not applied to the object but to the information regarding the object.  Therefore information can be managed by the user who created it.  When querying Fluidinfo trustworthy sources can be used to derive the information requested.  For example if you were looking for book reviews Fluidinfo could return reviews from Tim O'Reilly and Frank from Nebraska.  Tim O'Reilly would clearly have a greater reputation than Frank (but don't you worry, Frank is an up-and-comer).  Reputations and trusted domains can be used to filter data, as well as the fact that the user is generating the query.  Fluidinfo is probably sounding pretty good.  It gets better.  Fluidinfo uses a very simply API and queries can be returned in JSON makes Fluidinfo very intriguing   

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