Request for comments: port-tags

Panagiotis Astithas past at
Tue Nov 8 01:52:04 PST 2005

Anton Berezin wrote:
> Hi folks,
> I would like to point to you, and hopefully
> get you to check it out and make your comments and suggestions.
> Below is the contents of
> Port-tags is like [] for FreeBSD ports
> collection.
> The idea is to make ports classification easier and more convenient.
> Instead of using predefined and limited set of port categories,
> port-tags uses short one-word descriptions called tags. A port can have
> an arbitrary number of tags associated with it. One can use the web
> interface (and maybe a command-line interface in the future) to view
> only the ports that have particular tags associated with them. This
> process is very efficient in narrowing down the number of sought ports.
> Debian has something similar called Debtags
> []. The main difference of Debtags and
> port-tags is not the absense or presense of particular frontends.
> Rather, Debtags takes potentially more fruitful approach of getting the
> community to define the tags, while for now, port-tags uses an
> algorithmic approach to deduce the tags from the existing categories and
> from ports' COMMENT field. Let's see how this works out and extend it to
> a community-based project at a later stage.
> The idea of port-tags came up in a conversation I had with Autrijus Tang
> a couple of weeks ago. Since then, I discussed it with various people
> (most notably with Lars Thegler, Erwin Lansing, and Florent Thoumie) and
> finally implemented it.
> In its current form, the service is not updated live. Instead, as it
> depends on the INDEX file, and the index file gets updated once a day,
> so does the port-tags database.
> If it looks too similar to, it is because for this early
> alpha version I just stole the stylesheets from there.
> If you have any comments and suggestions with regard to port-tags, I
> would like to hear about it. Is it useful? How can we make it more
> useful? What are the shortcomings? Any show-stoppers which prevent you
> from using it? 
> Thank you for your attention,
> \Anton.

This is great! I've been thinking along these lines for some time now, 
but never found the time to do something about it. I was considering 
using lucene to create the inverted index from port comments and 
descriptions, like you did and building a gui for searching through it. 
If you keep maintaining the web site, it would be a good idea to provide 
some sort of web-service protocol in order to be used from client 
applications. It could be something as simple as querying by adding the 
terms in the http path info and returning a document with a list of port 
names (newline-separated, comma-separated or whatever). Perhaps it will 
be easy to add this functionality to sysutils/bpm or sysutils/portbrowser.


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