Islandora/Fedora 4 Project Update

The Islandora 7.x/Fedora 4.x integration that we announced in December has officially begun. Work began on January 19th and our first team meeting was Friday, January 30th and we will be meeting on the 4th Friday of every month at 1:00 PM Eastern time. Here's what's going on so far:

Project Updates

The new, Fedora 4 friendly version of Islandora is being built under the working designation of Islandora 7.x-2.x (as oppose to the 7.x-1.x series that encompasses current Fedora 3.x updates to Islandora, which are not going away any time soon). A new GitHub organization is in place for development and testing, and the Islandora Fedora 4 Interest Group has been reconvened under new Terms of Reference to act as a project group for the Fedora 4 integration. If you want to participate, please sign up as part of this group. If you don't have time to participate in regular meetings, we would still love to hear your use case. You can submit it for discussion in the issue queue of the interest group. Need help getting into the GitHub of it all? Contact us and we'll get you there.

There is also a new chef recipe in the works to quickly spin up development and testing environments with the latest for 7.x-2.x. Special thanks to MJ Suhonos and the team at Ryerson University for Islandora Chef!

The project is under the direction of Project Lead Nick Ruest (York University) and Tech Lead Danny Lamb (discoverygarden, Inc.), with participation from:

  • The University of Toronto Scarborough
  • The University of Oklahoma
  • The University of Manitoba
  • The University of Virginia
  • The University of Prince Edward Island
  • The University of Limerick
  • Simon Fraser University
  • REUNA
  • LYRASIS
  • Common Media
  • The Colorado Alliance

Special thanks goes to Aaron Coburn, whose fcrepo Camel module is going to be an integral part of our own designs for Fedora 4 and Islandora.

If you would like to talk to Nick and Danny about the project, or even offer up some help while they code away on an unofficial 'sprint,' you can meet up with them at discoverygarden's table at Code4Lib 2015 in Portland, OR February 9 - 12.

Technical Planning

Danny Lamb has kicked off the design of the next stage of Islandora with a Technical Design Doc that you should definitely read and comment on if you have any plans to use Islandora with Fedora 4 in the future. We are still at the stage of hearing use cases and making plans, so now is the time to get your needs into the mix. The opening line sums up the basic approach: Islandora version 7.x-2.x is middleware built using Apache Camel to orchestrate distributed data processing and to provide web services required by institutions who would like to use Drupal as a frontend to a Fedora 4 JCR repository. 

Some preliminary Big Ideas:

  • No more Tuque. No more GSearch. No more xml forms. The Java middleware layer will handle many things that were previously done in PHP and Drupal.
  • It will treat Drupal like any other component of the stack. There will be indexing in Drupal for display using nodes, fields, and other parts of the Drupal ecosystem.
  • It will use persistent queues, so the middleware layer can exist on separate servers.
  • The Fedora-Drupal connection comes first. An admin interface will be developed later.

And some preliminary Wild Ideas (we'd love to hear your opinions):

  • Headless Drupal 7.x
  • Make the REST API endpoints the same for Drupal 7 and Drupal 8 so migration is easier.
  • Dropbox-style ingest.

Migration

Or rather, upgration (a portmanteau of upgrade and migration, and our new favourite word). Nick Ruest and York University are working through a Fedora 3.x -> 4.x upgration path. Because York's Islandora stack is as close to generic as you can reasonably get in in production, this should provide a model for a generic upgration path that others can follow - as well as keeping the needs of the Islandora community on the radar for the Fedora 4 development team, so that all of the pieces evolve to work together.

Funding

We launched the project with a funding goal of $100,000 to get a functioning prototype and Fedora 3.x -> 4.x migration path. We are very pleased to announce that we have achieved more than half of that funding goal and are well set to see things through to the end. 

Many, many thanks to our supporters, all of whom are now members the Islandora Foundation as Partners:

  • LYRASIS
  • York University
  • McMaster University
  • University of Prince Edward Island
  • University of Manitoba
  • University of Limerick

If your institution would like to join up, whether as a $10,000 Partner or at some other level of support, please contact us