Thursday, August 30, 2012


This morning (GMT+2) we have successfully launched the new Wikibrains site into public beta. This is the elation of the 2 week development sprint we made, implementing a long list of an even longer list of suggestions comments and responses we got from the private beta launch a month ago.

Developing a project like Wikibrains is not easy mainly because its not trivial to step out of ones skin and try to get a fresh look at things. To see whats really needed and what is the pure fantasy, irrelevant for others.
This is where the early adopters come in and have a major impact on the decision making for the products features.
We got truck loads of awesome suggestions and I am grateful and thankful to all the people who took the time to write to us.

Ongoing road map:

Migrate to HTML5/Java-script

As discussed in a previous post, we are abandoning the Flex/Flash solution for a light HTML5/JS solution. we will start with a lean editor that will be available along side the robust Flash editor and gradually improve it until we can completely replace the old one.

Socialization and Gamification

We will enable users to follow other users and their contributions to Wikibrains. Contribtors ratings and an assortment of badges.

Public, Group and Private domains

In order to make idea sharing and collaboration even more easy and intuitive we will implement 3 different scopes of privacy. The public domain, where unregistered users can add their associations to any idea. The group domain, were users can collaborate and create mind maps together and restring the editing of the mind map to the group members only. Finally, private mind maps, that are only visible to the creator.

Brain API's and widgets

We are intending on opening the access to the data sources via RESTful API's so any one who would like to use and take advantage of the abundance of semantic information will be able to. After all, the Wikibrains site implements only one approach on what can be accomplished with an associative learning machine. We will start by publishing a set of widgets that enable basic interactions with the graph and open source them so developers may use it for their own benefits.

Bugs will be addressed continuously.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Wikibrains new look

During the past few weeks we were all too busy with a series of changes we have implemented into the Wikibrains web application. This is the first step in migrating Wikibrains to Javascript and away from flash. This phase is almost complete and expected to debut in a week.

We have implemented a new look, simple and clean, thus emphasizing the actual data results over the design quirks. Here are a few examples I snatched up from the new application:

Accessing the graph information is now available in two primary formats. The Brain Browser format accesses the word nodes on the graph and allows free browsing through the associations that are defined by users.

Each graph result is accompanies by an acknowledgement to the contributors and a list of top mind maps that include the main topic of the search.

Browsing the graph data has a mind map view. This is a read only view of a particular mind map and for the time being, is not browsable by clicking on the nodes on the graph. Since a mind map is the result of a single contributor, we zoom in on the owner and the other things he had created in Wikibrains.

When clicking on a contributor link a public profile is presented with more details and achievements (in the form of badges) that are credited to the particular person.

In sight of our goal to encouraging participation in teaching us new words and word association, we reward badges accordingly.
We created a set of badges that symbolizes each trait we admire, if its a person that creates allot of mind maps, or someone that is responsible for a great deal of associations.

So there.
I am exited and eager to hear how our users will like and react to this change we are making.

Good luck to us all.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Rails DOT Routing

The default rout match for rails considers the dot as a place holder for the format type that is expected in return.
When implementing a free text search over GET, its important to change this configuration.

Default configuration:
match ':controller(/:action(/:id))(.:format)'

This will not handle a query as following:
/site/search/I am looking for . in a sentence

A working configuration would look like the following:
match ':controller(/:action(/:id))',:id => /[^\/]*/

Found at the coding journal

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Wikibrains migration to a non-flash site

A few days ago, we had a long hard talk about the future UI technology of Wikibrains. We were debating two technologies for implementing the Wikibrains graph (mind map) editor.
On the one hand, we have invested countless hours in the Adobe Flex (AKA Flash) based editor, while on the other hand, thoughts about migrating to a much lighter and brisk implementation in HTML/Javascriupt.

The first step we took was to check out the feasibility and reaction of people to the new option, but implementing a read only version of the graph view in our social sharing landing page.

It took about a day and a half to convert a JavaScript tree view by Kenneth to a graph view and making it ready for the Wikibrains graph data injection.

Once published, the reaction to the sharing page was phenomenal, and its popularity almost matched the index page.

Faster to load and better UI performance made us decide to use this structure as the next step in our editors development. not to mention the fact that it works on mobile platforms without any extra effort.

JavaScript came a log way the past years in terms of rendering engines on browsers and the results is easily noticeable in the event management and motion  rendering. And I guess, that practically made the decision for us.

So long Flex.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wikisrains moves to Public Beta phase

Months of hard work have finally resulted in airing the WikiBrains machine learning engine.
Having people using it is so exiting, since as more of them do, the smarted it gets.

Although one would need to register to actually use the brainstorm GUI tool, its easy to see the daily increase in vocabulary and context just by going into the search page and checking out 'Apple' (just an example).

Each time a user lines up a couple of words, may they be of his own design or using existing connections from the suggestion list, the brain is enriched by a new synapse.

The wiki engine uses a graph database to store the words as objective points and the subjective links between them are what people have to say about those words.

We still have several usability issues with the GUI, perhaps too cumbersome one may argue. but despite some snags on the way, it works (which makes me really happy). No performance issues so far, and the user base is steadily growing.

Thumbs up for the Wikibrains team!