Building knowledge base using Twine
In the past few weeks I’m working on a project trying to push our system (at work) throughput to a new level of scalability and performance. The motivation is a new vertical with potential enormous number of “transactions” per day. We already completed a similar project with the same aim more than a year ago and it allows us to deal with tones of transactions entering another new market. Last time it was done in a rush under very tight schedule but we made it. This time I have some time to think through and explore what’s out there. I’m looking at multiple solutions to scale database operations. We already abstracted servers and other resources to allow both vertical and horizontal scalability yet we are still “counting” on enterprise database solutions from vendors like Oracle and SQL Server to help scale storage operations. In the levels that we are about to deal with, it will cost a lot to our customers to install such storage environments. We like to squeeze more out of an existing one as much as possible so we can lower TCO.
So, to the point of this post – I’m looking at multiple ways to gather existing knowledge from the web about Scalability, Performance, Optimization, Utilization, Storage and more in one place. I like to create a knowledge base with the best resources available in this matter. Since I like to blog and explore new search technics I decided to look at Twine. I found it few days ago looking at my WordPress, Blog Stats page. I got some traffic from this site so I went to check it out. I’m still learning about this tool and I hope that I can accurately describe it. Remember, my first objective is to be able to aggregate as much knowledge as possible about scalability and performance.
What that Twine let me do:
- You can simply use it as a way to save bookmark – you can tag an article and the system too will offer some tags for you allowing you to remove undesired ones.
- You can join an existing Twine – I joined the Web Industry Trends where I can see articles saved by the members of this Twine. I can see comments left by others and add my own comments. I can see how many people viewed it. The system supports email and feed options per Twine.
- You can start your own Twine – Here you have full control of the content of the Twine. You are the Twine webmaster. So, I started the Scalability and Performance Twine. You can make it public and allow new members to join or invite others yourself. I made it so you can join by request. The system allows you to add all sort of items to this mini knowledge base, like: bookmarks, documents, notes, images and Video. The engine behind this application is using all sort off recommendations algorithm suggesting related Twines and Tags. I’m not sure if it suggest it or you’ll need to add yourself for these addtioanl options: Places, Organizations. The key thing is that you can organize information around a subject matter in one place with the help of others and sophisticated recommendation/search engine. It reminds me of wiki but without learning the specific wiki syntax and a powerful recommendation engine to help with the task. It is also great that someone owns the Twine and is responsible for making sure that only the best information is keep and only the members that truly contribute to the Twine remains associated with it.
The UI is easy to use and very intuitive. I see some places for improvement around the UI real estate utilization; too much scrolling in some pages like the profile page (make the profile picture smaller). Some pages comes a little slow like the My Twines overview page but this is easy to fix and as you can see in the upper left corner of this site is still in beta phase. I actually in there after asked and got a private invite.
Now, I hope that Twine will open up and launce it service publicly so more people could join in. When that happen of if you got a private invite and If you care about the subject of Scalability and Performance, knows about it and where to find good source of information please join the Twine service and my Scalability and Performance Twine. The more I use it the more I like it.
Update: you can find here a very helpful screencast given by Nova Spivack Twine founder. The sysetm is packed with functionality so this is a great way to get up to speed with it. Also, the Twine Bookmarlet is a great time saver adding bookmarks (aren’t you getting tired adding title, descriptions and tags for each bookmark saved?). This for me is enough reason to use the system (and I’m a fan of delicious the social booknarking site).