Introducing Lokai

Lokai has finally hit the streets. This is what I call a business process management package. That is, it helps manage business processes. To me, that means two things, activities with some traceability of actions taken, and documentation. There’s a tad more to it than that, of course. It must be possible to relate things to each other; it must be possible to limit people’s access (or, conversely, allow people to see the things they need to see); and it must be extendable.

The first two go hand in hand in Lokai. All data is structured around multiple hierarchies. Each node in the hierarchy can be documentation, activity, or anything else. That gives us the ability to create different structures for different tasks, so things are related to each other in a way that makes sense in the context. At the same time, that gives us the access control mechanism. A user allocated to a point in the hierarchy has access to all points below that.

Extendability is is a key factor in making this package useful, and the component-based approach taken in Lokai has already produced a special-purpose web shop. More will come.

Producing an open-source package is a challenge. I’m still trying to work out how much, and what level of, documentation to produce. I guess I need more users to ask questions before I can get a good grasp of that. More immediate, though, are the issues raised by using Lokai as the basis for its own web site. I want to give registered users access to tickets, for example, but, on the one hand, I don’t want to have to explicitly give permission to each user for each ticket, and on the other, I don’t want to give write access to the node that contains the tickets. As it happens, this issue of grouping people is clearly appropriate for any organisation or project with more than a hand full of users, so Lokai springs to life with at least one ticket to be resolved, and it will be the better for it.

I’m looking forward to seeing how others will want to use it.

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