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2006-09-03 Extending GooDiff

Some months ago, we (Michael Noll and I) started a project to monitor legal documents of the services provider on Internet called GooDiff1. As more and more web services are available on Internet, we (the users) are not often (never?) warmed about changes in the terms of contracts and agreements. GooDiff is a basic services to monitor specific documents (often legal or contract documents) from providers like Yahoo!, or Google. The service is using a customized version of Trac with a simple subversion backend.

We discussed about possible extension to GooDiff and found out that making it more "social" is an interesting feature. What do we mean by more "social" ? We would like to make a kind of annotation or comment base interface to the legal document stored in GooDiff. The idea is to provide a basic unified interface using a classical wiki engine like MediaWiki. We don't want to reinvent the wheel and we want just to focus on the issues (already too much) to monitor "unstable" document. I just started goomirror to monitor, gather and store the raw files of the monitored services. The idea behind is to use a basic gateway to publish the information to the wiki where people could be able to comment or annotate the document. There are already some nifty Perl modules to access MediaWiki via a simple API. I already made a test (rssfromAPage) for generating an RSS from a list in a specific MediaWiki? page for the 2006 website. Using the same approach, it seems to not be difficult to gateway the goomirror content back into a community wiki. MediaWiki is maybe not the best choice (the RSS support compared to oddmuse is too minimal) but we'll test and see what's the best fit.


1. The name has nothing to do with Google. GooDiff? is composed of two parts : Goo and Diff. Diff, for the geek, it's easy to understand, it's from the diff utility in order to view difference between files. Goo is for a hypothetical end-of-the-world event involving an uncontrolled molecular nanotechnology taking all the earth resources. The book Blood Music from Greg Bear is a nice novel about a grey goo hypothesis. That makes sense regarding the undefined legal blog ;-)