DMOZ 2.0: What Lies Ahead
Since joining the DMOZ team about 9 months ago, AOL's main area of focus has been of stability and reliability. We wanted to make sure that the DMOZ you know and love was up and running and remove any single points of failure that we could. I am proud to say we achieved that result 6 months ago, and bar a few minor hiccups the public site has not been down since then.
For the technically inclined, the main improvement was that we moved the directory off local storage to NAS storage, allowing us to serve the files directly on the webservers and removing the proxies. Some things still need to be run on a single machine, due to the design of the system, and cost of changing that.
So what have we done since then you might ask. Well. Firstly... we did nothing. Most of the 'staff' you see are new to the open directory project. We took the next
couple of months to see how DMOZ operates. We started measuring how people use DMOZ, and started listening to what people were saying on the forums. And what we heard was that people still love DMOZ, still think it's relevant in todays world, but it's just a bit dusty.
We also took this time to survey what is going on in the internet and we formulated a plan on how to make DMOZ work in todays environment. In the next month or two we will be launching the 'beta' of the first phase of the next incarnation of the DMOZ to the editors.
This will be the infamous 'backend' we keep on referring to on the forums.
This backend is what we see as the future of DMOZ. Firstly we never saw DMOZ as strictly just being a place where users go to directly to get information.
DMOZ is not a destination site. It is the source of information for other sites. As such we will truly become a source. We will be allowing 3rd party
developers to access the data via an API. Data access via API will simplify integration of DMOZ data in other resources and applications, by creating "mashups". For example if you maintain an informational site about gardening, you can use DMOZ to get you a list of hand-picked gardening sites to point your readers too, or if you are a hockey fan you can make a little widget on your blog to show hockey clubs in your local region.
We also have plans to change the public face of ODP as well, allowing it to mash up other data sources as well... but you'll need to wait for the next newsletter for information on that one
kryton aka Ian.