The Ftrain Sitekit

Spinning the plates.

The Ftrain Sitekit (which will not be released for a month or two yet--and it's August, 2015 right now as I write this) is the code that is used to publish Ftrain.com, and in time, a few other sites. It has several notable features, including: complexity, a steep learning curve, and limited utility. It is based entirely on the technologies XML, which some people can tolerate, and XSLT2.0, which almost no one knows, and incorporates ideas from the Semantic Web initiative, Wikis, languages like Prolog, and weblogs.

Because every boy needs a hobby, I created the Ftrain Sitekit to explore the ways narrative structures and graph data structures overlap. I have an incomplete theoretical understanding of both narrative and graph theory, and the code and prose both show this. I write and program to learn--to do new things with stories, or do old things with stories in interesting ways. As a result of all that, this is not an easy system to work with unless you are willing to spend some time.

Which is a way to say: I would love it if you downloaded the code, read through the documentation, and started to play. But I can't help you more than a bit. If you want to improve on my work, to make it easier to create sites, more consistent, and more general, just tell me what you want to do and I'll do what I can to make it happen, and tell other people about it, and give you all the credit you desire.

Right now, everything is accomplished in XSLT; eventually, I would like to offload the entirety of the navigation/connection process to something like SWI-Prolog or XSB. In practice, this is not hard: simply generate a fact base using unique URIs, and query that fact base. In practice, I need to learn Prolog....

Events Related To The Ftrain Sitekit

2001 Jan 5 Because every boy needs a hobby, I created the Ftrain Sitekit to explore the ways narrative structures and graph data structures overlap.
2003 Jul 19 Paul Ford refactored The Ftrain Sitekit code for readibility.




Ftrain.com is the website of Paul Ford and his pseudonyms. It is showing its age. I'm rewriting the code but it's taking some time.


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About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

If you have any questions for me, I am very accessible by email. You can email me at ford@ftrain.com and ask me things and I will try to answer. Especially if you want to clarify something or write something critical. I am glad to clarify things so that you can disagree more effectively.


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© 1974-2011 Paul Ford


@20, by Paul Ford. Not any kind of eulogy, thanks. And no header image, either. (October 15)

Recent Offsite Work: Code and Prose. As a hobby I write. (January 14)

Rotary Dial. (August 21)

10 Timeframes. (June 20)

Facebook and Instagram: When Your Favorite App Sells Out. (April 10)

Why I Am Leaving the People of the Red Valley. (April 7)

Welcome to the Company. (September 21)

“Facebook and the Epiphanator: An End to Endings?”. Forgot to tell you about this. (July 20)

“The Age of Mechanical Reproduction”. An essay for TheMorningNews.org. (July 11)

Woods+. People call me a lot and say: What is this new thing? You're a nerd. Explain it immediately. (July 10)

Reading Tonight. Reading! (May 25)

Recorded Entertainment #2, by Paul Ford. (May 18)

Recorded Entertainment #1, by Paul Ford. (May 17)

Nanolaw with Daughter. Why privacy mattered. (May 16)

0h30m w/Photoshop, by Paul Ford. It's immediately clear to me now that I'm writing again that I need to come up with some new forms in order to have fun here—so that I can get a rhythm and know what I'm doing. One thing that works for me are time limits; pencils up, pencils down. So: Fridays, write for 30 minutes; edit for 20 minutes max; and go whip up some images if necessary, like the big crappy hand below that's all meaningful and evocative because it's retro and zoomed-in. Post it, and leave it alone. Can I do that every Friday? Yes! Will I? Maybe! But I crave that simple continuity. For today, for absolutely no reason other than that it came unbidden into my brain, the subject will be Photoshop. (Do we have a process? We have a process. It is 11:39 and...) (May 13)

That Shaggy Feeling. Soon, orphans. (May 12)

Antilunchism, by Paul Ford. Snack trams. (May 11)

Tickler File Forever, by Paul Ford. I'll have no one to blame but future me. (May 10)

Time's Inverted Index, by Paul Ford. (1) When robots write history we can get in trouble with our past selves. (2) Search-generated, "false" chrestomathies and the historical fallacy. (May 9)

Bantha Tracks. (May 5)

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