The 10th anniversary of Piggydb and the current status of the journey

Hello.

Piggydb turned 10 this summer. It was August 27, 2008, when I released the first version.

Recently the project is in a dormant state. It’s been more than two years since the last release (February 2016).

In 2010, I wrote about the goal of Piggydb:

But as I experimented with Piggydb’s knowledge creation, I found out that it did not work as well as expected. I thought originally some sort of structure would gradually emerge in the continuous organization of knowledge fragments with tags. But there’s something missing still in Piggydb to achieve this goal. – Wiki, Mind maps, Concept maps and Piggydb | Piggydb

So what’s the current status of the journey to the goal?

I think I’m almost there.

Piggydb would be powerful in terms of creating highly structured content with fragment relationships and hierarchical tags, but not good at providing a place of generativity as quoted above.

The “Table Tennis Videos” demo site is a good example for this.

It’s well structured and tagged so that visitors can search the videos in various ways. However, once you decided a system of structure and tags, you can’t escape from it easily. You just input fragments so as to align with the existing structure.

It’s actually useful for certain purposes, especially for displaying some information, but I myself want to escape from static structures. If you use it as a personal or team knowledge base, it wouldn’t last long because it’s highly possible there’s no metabolism occurring in it.

This experience made me rethink the principles needed to realize metabolism in digital note-taking, and that led to the Cotoami project I’m currently working on.

The first principle implemented in Cotoami was to make the barrier to input as low as possible.

In Cotoami, you post your ideas and thoughts like chatting. It’s actually a chatting feature where you can chat with other users sharing the same space.

You would feel free to write anything that comes in your mind. Your posts just flow into the past unless they are pinned:

There are two panes side by side representing flow and stock respectvely.

Then you make connections to enrich your stock just like Piggydb’s fragment relationships.

You can view your network of knowledge in a graph:

Making connections is like chemical reactions in metabolism, which should produce a new chemical substance finally. And this is the second principle implemented as “Cotonomatization” in Cotoami.

In Cotoami, individual posts are called “Cotos”, which is a Japanese word meaning “thing” and there’s a special type of Coto called “Cotonoma” (Coto-no-ma means “a space of Cotos”). A Cotonoma is a Coto that has a dedicated chat timeline associated with it.

These two concepts are basic building blocks of a knowledge base in Cotoami.

As you can see in the above image, Cotonomas form a recursive structure and each Cotonoma has its own metabolism cycle.

Here you can understand what “Cotonomatization” is. It means converting a plain Coto into a Cotonoma:

I think this process, converting a Coto that has collected many connections and appears to be important into a Cotonoma, in order to create another conceptual space of metabolism, leads to what I originally thought in 2010: “some sort of structure would gradually emerge in the continuous organization”.

I’ve been using Cotoami for more than a year now and feel it works greatly. Many of my Cotonomas have been created spontaneously from my random thoughts or conversations with my friends and they are filled with new discoveries.

I’d like you to try it out if you read this far 😉 There’s a demo server: https://demo.cotoa.me and another server for practical use, which gives accounts to crowdfunders: https://www.patreon.com/cotoami

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Piggydb -> Oinker -> Cotoami: We need your help!

Hello!

After the experimental endeavour to create a next-generation Piggydb which became Oinker.me, we decided to re-create it from scratch as open source.

The project is called “Cotoami”. It is still in an early stage of development and we are looking for some comments and feedback from people who are interested in Piggydb-like applications.

You can easily catch up on the history of development by reading the tweets at https://twitter.com/cotoami and try out the latest version at https://cotoa.me



Piggydb V7.0 – Java 8 / New Page Header / Bug Fixes

Hi there,

It’s long time no see… actually, it’s almost two years since the last version (V6.18) was released.

After the long pause, Piggydb’s new version is finally here.

piggydb-7.0

It doesn’t contain big changes except that the page header has been redesigned. Now it looks cooler than before (hopefully), and the title displayed in the header (“Piggydb Documents” in the screenshot) is the “Database Title” which you can change in the System Info page.

It also fixes a bug that it won’t work offline because of the reference to the hosted Mathjax library.

Lastly, Piggydb V7.0 requires Java 8. If you use one of the previous versions of Java, you need to upgrade it.

Download Piggydb V7.0

Enjoy 😉


Knowledge Network Graph Visualization

From time to time I received requests for MindMap or ConceptMap like graph visualization (nodes and edges style) in Piggydb or Oinker. But I thought there were things to consider in order to implement it since the models in both applications were document-oriented as I explained in an Oinker Blog entry.

Recently I came up with an idea and implemented it in Oinker as below:

The problem of displaying document-oriented data in a graph view is that a document tends to contain many large nodes which are not suitable for bird’s eye overview. So we should deal with these nodes somehow to avoid the verbosity of being precise. The idea I came up with is a way to select nodes for a graph. I call these selected nodes “topic nodes“.

Currently a topic node is:

  • a node whose content has only one word or sentence.
  • a node whose content length is shorter than or equal to 30.
  • a node whose content is not Markdown
  • a node whose content is not a URL
  • a node whose content is not a file

You can check out an example of how topic nodes work in Oinker’s graph view at:

https://oinker.me/room/marubinotto/impact-mapping

This feature is still experimental and waiting for your feedback.

Oinker – https://oinker.me/


Piggydb and Oinker as a Content Publishing Platform

Hi there,

It’s been a while. These days I’m working on a web service “Oinker” off and on, squeezing time from busy days.

Recently, I’ve started pulling well-proven features from Piggydb and adding them to Oinker. One of them is a content publishing capability which is implemented as “Anonymous Access” in Piggydb (sample site).

Oinker’s publishing feature is more sophisticated than Piggydb. You can publish your content on a room basis. A room is like a chatroom in Oinker and it has a chat timeline and a board on which you create content with your roommates.

A room is composed of a timeline and a board

You can make a board open to public so that anonymous visitors can view the content, and additionally allow logged-in users who are non-members of the room to view the timeline and post messages to it. So you can not only publish your content, but also collect feedback from audience.

public-room

What kind of content can you create in Oinker? Just check out the sample content: Unknown Tokyo

unknown-tokyo


Oinker is now open beta!

You can sign up for free at: https://oinker.me

I’m looking forward to your feedback 😉


What is Oinker?

I’ve launched a blog to deliver weekly updates on Oinker: