Open Humanities Awards: finderApp WITTFind update 2

*This is the second in a series of posts from Dr Maximilian Hadersbeck, the recipient of the DM2E Open Humanities Awards – DM2E track.*

The research group “Wittgenstein in Co-Text” is working on extending the FinderApp WiTTFind tool, which is currently used for exploring and researching Wittgenstein’s Big Typescript TS-213 (BT), to the rest of the 5000 pages of Wittgenstein’s Nachlass that are made freely available by the Wittgenstein Archives at the University of Bergen and are used as linked data software from the DM2E project. In October, they concentrated with full power on switching to professional open-source software development tools, the virtualization of the FinderApp to open it to other projects and the submission of a paper and poster on the work to a Digital Humanities conference in 2015. 

Switching to professional open-source Software Development Tools

The aims in our award project, enlarging and opening our FinderApp WiTTFind to new fields of Digital Humanities, led to the decision that we have to switch from our svn-based “personal software development” to a more powerful distributed revision control and source code management system. Our decision fell on GIT, an open source software tool which proved excellent capabilities during the development of new Linux Kernels. We built up a GIT-Server at our institute and developed, collected and maintained all modules around our FinderApp under the roof of the GIT-group WAST (Wittgenstein Advanced Search Tools). Together with new storage and revision control, we extended our software development with additional tools like: Test Driven Development (TDD), Continuous Integration (CI) and integrated Build System (gitlabci), Continuous Delivery and Deployment, best-practices bug reporting, Build and Test Engineering and at last also Quality Assurance. Within the GIT-group WAST, every module is implemented as an own project, connected to responsible owners. A central WEB-based Feedback-Application was implemented, to enable email- and GIT-based postage for staging errors, problems and new feature requests. All the delivered issues are visible to the GIT-members of the WASTgroup. The Feedback-Application is widely used: 192 issues have been processed since the installation.

Restructuring and integration our AWARD-Project under GIT Control

The modularization and restructuring of our programs and data around WiTTFind is finished and managed in the GIT-LAB group WAST. From now on, all data management and documentation is done under GIT-Control (see picture 1). An automatic quality assurance system is implemented to enable automatic testing of new software developments. Software will only be accepted and integrated as WAST-tool if there are automatic tests and they succeed. The project is maintained via the Feedback-Application.


Picture 1: Commit over time to WAST-git

New logo for Wittgenstein Advanced Search Tools (WAST)

To express the corporate identity we developed a new logo for our FinderApp WiTTFind, which is contained in the WAST-Tools. We extracted word-snippets from facsimiles of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Nachlass:


Picture 2: WAST- Project LOGO

FinderApp for other Digital Humanity Projects

One of the biggest aims of our award project is to open our FinderApp WiTTFind and WAST-Tools to other Digital Humanities projects. The whole software should run interoperable under Linux, MacOS and Windows. To overcome the widespread software requirements of our application, which differ heavily between different platforms and even different releases, we use the virtualization software Docker. This technology, available open source for various operating systems, collects all software needed in one “container” and makes it run under docker-sever-control. In October we have released our first docker-container, which runs our FinderApp and WAST-Tools virtualized on laptops under Linux and soon MacOS as well. All our programmers in the project group use this technology to develop their software.

Picture 3: Interoperable Virtualized WiTTFind

Paper and poster for the Conference “Digital Humanities im deutschsprachigen Raum”, Graz 2015

To make our Wittgenstein Advanced Search Tools and the FinderApp WiTTFind known to a broader community in the field of Digital Humanities we submitted a paper and poster to the conference Digital Humanities im deutschsprachigen Raum (25-27 February 201, Graz, Austria). The paper “Wittgensteins Nachlass: Erkenntnisse und Weiterentwicklung der FinderApp WiTTFind” (authors Max Hadersbeck, Alois Pichler, Florian Fink, Daniel Bruder and Ina Arends)  describes in great detail the latest developments of our project, while the poster “Wittgensteins Nachlass: Aufbau und Demonstration der FinderApp WiTTFind und ihrer Komponenten” (authors Yuliya Kalasouskaya, Matthias Lindinger, Stefan Schweter and Roman Capsamun) complements a live-demo of WiTTFind.

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