BeOS in a database

I’ve got an idea for a new project but would like some feedback from everyone before I get too far into it. I’d like to create a web (ie mysql/php or a wiki) database for the BeOS/Haiku. What I was thinking is creating a database that lists all the files found in the basic installs of all known BeOS flavors (R5/Dana/Zeta/Max/PhOS/Haiku). This database would allow users to lookup a file and get info on it such as where it should be located, what it’s for, how to use it etc…

Mapping the system this way will help new users figure out what the strange file in /boot/beos/bin is and how to use it; it also will allow developers to best guage what is already on the system/where their new files should go and generally allow for exploration of the files that come with a distro without having to rely on the help of web forums and the community in general. Not that we as a community are unfriendly to new comers, but I know I get great satisfaction from finding out this stuff without a lot of help from others. I don’t want to be draconian about this, just having it as a best practice/guide for people to help maintain some consistancy. Or just as a informational reference.

As a kin to this idea is doing the same for the mime types to centralize/standardize them to a “basic default” that may help troubleshooting. Seeing that Be and Haiku depend on the mimes quite a bit it would, IMHO, be good to keep a clean, well organized and basic listing of the core mimes for Be. Possably adding to this would be a way for developers to add there own to keep from running into dups, like Be used to do.

Please be as frank as filters allow. I would really like to know if the community would find this useful.

This sounds pretty interesting and useful to me. I know it sure annoys me not to know what certain files are in Windows or whatever OS I’m running.

In fact if you don’t procede with this project, I may do it myself, using Ruby on Rails.

I’m glad to see some interest. I’ve decided to go with a wiki. I haven’t used Ruby on Rails so I don’t know anything about it. Would it be better for this type project then a wiki? I want it to be very accessable and easily transferable (ie integrated into the offical haiku wiki someday).

I’ve got mediawiki setup on my server and when I’ve got some time I’m gonna scan the distros and populate the pages. Then the fun begins. I’d like to make it publicly editable, but I’m unsure about defacing and misuse. Perhaps there might be a way to limit access to those who are registered here. I don’t know, time to think.

Thank you for expressing your interest. It will help to motivate me to continue.

I think starting with a wiki is fine. If we find that the wiki proves awkward, then using PHP or Ruby on Rails or some other web development framework may be something we want to look into. But the wiki should be great for starting because it is easy for people to add to, and in the beginning it will be good if a lot of people contribute so that the list can be completed faster, without yourself or just a few people having to fill in the exhaustive list. I would say that you should use scripts to get the basic list of files from whatever distributions you have access to and then add room to describe them, instead of typing them by hand.

One thing I would like to say is you make a good point in regards to the MIME types for applications, and I think it would be worthwhile to make a more official web site or web application that lists those and enables users to add more. In fact this may be worthwhile bringing up to the Haiku project administrators, though it may have already been discussed in the mailing list. I’ll see what I can find.

I brought up the MIME idea a while ago but it was shot down because the others didn’t want to dictate what should or shouldn’t be in there. All I want to do is have a central repository so if your MIME’s get hosed (as has happened to/by me on occasion) you can start the FileTypes preflet and just resync with a online resource and get the basic system ones back in working order. And to have a place to look up a description of one.

I am still a bit concerned about opening this up to just anyone, but I guess if it gets out of hand I could pull it. I’ll post here when I get something.