I've been maintaining Radio silence this week because of a project to republish the Chef Moz restaurant database as Dining.Name, a dynamic Web site created with Java and Perl and served with MySQL and PHP.
I started the project with two goals in mind: Getting more experience developing real-world Web applications and promoting Chef Moz, a corner of the Open Directory Project devoted to restaurant listings and reviews. Chef Moz offers its entire database under an open license, but no one appears to be doing anything with it.
I'm beginning to understand why. There are a lot of obstacles to overcome when dealing with 134 megabytes of XML data that isn't well-formed, contains hundreds of illegal characters, and isn't in the UTF-8 character set as described in the documentation. (I was so desperate at one point I turned to Perl, which is my language of last resort.)
I'm hoping the project becomes a useful consumer-friendly interface to Chef Moz, which is designed more for project contributors than hungry diners, as shown in this before and after view. At a minimum, it should give me plenty of fodder for programming articles here on Workbench (and future books).