Blacklight plugin and demo app
I’m republishing this post from the Blacklight OPAC site. I’m tired of getting burned by the whole “your websites are ugly so we thought you weren’t a real project” thing, and I’m making an effort to give Blacklight a more polished public presence. Let me know how I’m doing. New website here, and documentation wiki here.
The other big news for Blacklight in the past month has been Matt Mitchell’s excellent Blacklight plugin. A problem faced by many open source applications whose users also want customized code is that code gets out of sync and upgrades become a headache. I think we’re on the way to avoiding that problem for Blacklight. Using the Rails Engines plugin, Blacklight is now available as a generic plugin application that offers most of the core functionality of the UVA Blacklight instance. When you put this plugin into an empty rails application, you can overload behaviors and look and feel for your installation, and still upgrade the core functionality when new releases come out. Because of the plugin structure, your changes aren’t entangled with the public project, and you won’t need to comb through separating your code from the project’s.
We’re still in the process of writing documentation that will show people how to create their own look and feel for Blacklight, but if you’re interested in trying Blacklight you might want to start with a demo application. You can see what this will look like after installation here, and you can read installation instructions here. I hope you’ll try it and give us some feedback about the application and the installation process.