Developing a Common “Brain” for Our Systems
Many of the potential new applications we’d like to develop will depend upon common functionality that should be encapsulated into its own application. I don’t know exactly what we should call it (Reformed Media? The νοῦς?).
This system would provide a structure for theological resources. The big entities are people, books, and Scripture references. These items drive much of the conversation at Reformed Forum. Nearly every podcast episode or blog post references people, books, or Scripture references. At the same time, it’s hard to find resources given any one of these entities. Consider a few use cases:
- You’re studying Philippians 2:5–11 and are looking for resources that deal with the subject. You’d like to listen to podcasts and sermons, read blog posts, journal articles, or books that reference these verses.
- You’re listening to a podcast episode and someone mentioned a book. You’d like to buy that book and join in an online discussion about it. Perhaps you’re also interested in downloading a study guide to help you lead a discussion group on the book.
- Someone suggested you look into reading John Murray’s Redemption Accomplished and Applied. You search our site and find several places where you can buy new and used copies. You also notice a podcast episode devoted to the book, other books by John Murray, and an online discussion group currently reading the book together.
- You’d like to subscribe to an RSS feed for all of Sinclair Ferguson’s books, posts, conference addresses, and sermons.
I envision a database and application that allows us to structure all of Reformed Forum’s resources as well as trusted resources from around the web. In a way, this would be the brain behind a next-generation hybrid between Monergism.com and SermonAudio.com.
Currently, much of this functionality is already included in the Reformed Academy Python/Django app. But the more I think about our other projects, the more appropriate it seems to move much of this functionality to its own project with its own name. Django allows you to create reusable modules, so I don’t know how important this is, technologically. It seems appropriate however, conceptually and organizationally. The potential for such a system is enormous, especially if we opened the API to other applications.