One of the tasks that's been on my desk for awhile has been giving some love to CAREO. It sorta stopped working a few months ago, and nobody really cared enough for it to be a High Priority Urgent Fix. The hard drive started to corrupt, and services went from spotty to unavailable. And stayed that way.
Actually, I think it's a pretty impressive statement about Institutional Repositories that something that was once trumpeted as The Next Big Thing can be out of action for 9 months without many people even noticing. Relevance of top-down, centrally ordained institutional Repositories?
Personally, I just kept feeding my stuff into del.icio.us, Flickr, and my blog, completely (and blissfully) unaffected by the crumbling of an aging prototype repository.
But, apparently, some people still wanted access, so I spent the day getting my head back into the code (mmm... spaghetti....) and realizing just how much I dislike Java (or, perhaps, all compiled languages). I spent SO much time wasted in compile-recompile-forcecompile-compile-deploy-launch-test-fix-repeat that it was way more frustrating than it needed to be. With an interpreted language, I could be modifying the code on the fly and seeing the changes in realtime. Much better for fixing and debugging stuff.
Anyway, CAREO is back on the air, with its library of 4145 contributed "learning objects" (of which, the vast majority don't really provide much context for learning, but are rather simple assets or resources to be used in other contexts...
It's now running on my old dual-800MHz-G4 desktop box, which would sound slow except that CAREO is now running on a box that has more than 4x the horsepower it did before The Fall From Grace. Pretty sure it won't handle a Slashdotting, or even moderate use. But it should work well enough for people to refer to again.
My first reaction on seeing it again after over a year was "Blech! THIS was the best we could come up with?" - The interface is pretty hideous, especially by "modern" standards. And it's so un-Web2.0 that it hurts. I did bolt on wiki and discussion features, but that's what they are - bolted on grift.
Of course, it was pre-Web2.0, so it's funny how perceptions change with experience.
ps. the CAREO Project Website, which was hosted by Athabasca, is unavailable for completely different reasons (they let the domain lapse and didn't renew it. doh.)