CoFindeR on hold

I have been busy working on CoFinder around christmas, for those of you who are interested in working with the tool, I have bad news - it is currently on hold. Well, if you were really interested, you have recognized this already ;-) There are three simple reasons for this. The first reason is the Mozilla design challenge. The second are limitations of the current version of Jetpack. The final reason is related to conceptual limitations in Moodle.

For the Mozilla design challenge that triggered the development of the idea of CoFindeR, there is little to say. As it was a competition that puts some time constraints on the development, I found myself in the situation that I did not find sufficient time to work on it to meet the deadlines.

The second reason is the current version of Jetpack itself - and this is somewhat related to the first reason as you will see. The main problem of Jetpack at the moment is that although it has so many nice concepts, it is an innovator tool in Rogers' innovator-early adopters-early majority-late majority-laggards product diffusion process. Basically some tools that were promised to exist, were not yet available (namely toolbars and panels). I tried a couple of work-arounds but a the bottom line this meant that I had to dig deeply into the Mozilla internals - and this is against the principal idea of Jetpacks.

Eventually, the Jetpack development team came to the conclusion that large parts of the architecture were too complex, were conflicting with other concepts of the Mozilla tools, or were just too difficult too maintain. This conclusion lead to a complete rewrite of the Jetpack framework. Although this is a good decision, the timing was bad for the CoFindeR development within the Mozilla design challenge. Firstly, the decision came right in the middle of the design challenge. Secondly, because this decision postponed all the features that I would require for CoFindeR.

CoFindeR was intended to related social bookmarking and online courses in Moodle. I thought that I saw things like tags and meta-data for learning material in Moodle. Well, this thought indicates that I wasn't carefully looking ;-) While looking at the LMS end of CoFindeR, I figured that Moodle has no concept such as key-word meta-data on course-level, or - for that matter - no concept at all for meta-data at resource level. I couldn't even find a Moodle extension for this task. Consequently, this would require to implement such as plug-in, which is itself a complex thing to do, because it requires linking core elements of the architecture with a plug-in both at the back-end and at the front-end level. If anyone mentions that Moodle is a simple system to extend, don't believe this person.

These factors added development constraints to the original planning. This does not mean that CoFindeR is dead, but it means that it will take longer to get into production mode.