Over the last five years, OpenRefine has built a robust platform, to which many developers have contributed plugins and extensions useful for their own audiences. That list of plugins and reconciliation services grows month after month, demonstrating that the community is active and thriving, with a healthy and expanding user base.
Topology of OpenRefine extensions
The extensions around the OpenRefine core can be divided in three categories:
1. Reconciliation services enable users to connect with remote data sources to pull information and enrich their project and align data against existing taxonomy. Services developed by iPhylo for bioinformatics are excellent examples.
2. Extensions of the Refine interface by adding new functions directly within the code base. For example plugins like the VIB-BITS history extension allow user to better work between multiple projects and pivot data. The RDF extension developed by DERI transforms OpenRefine into a key tool for anyone working with RDF format.
3. Integration with remote services let users work with web services without leaving the comfort of Refine interface. In this case OpenRefine becomes a human gateway to interact with services that are often only available to developers via API. The crowdsourcing extension from sparkica or Name Entity Recognition by Free Your Metadata are excellent examples.
Building an open platform for domain experts to extend
RefinePro want to encourage this model, where OpenRefine focuses on maintaining and developing a robust user interface and core architecture so that domain experts can develop the missing pieces and address specific needs.
OpenRefine should make it easy(ier) for users to explore and discover new services and extensions as they build their own solution. Looking at other projects, WordPress developed a very successful and similar model with its theme and plugin directory.
At RefinePro we take care of your hosting and specific needs as pertain to Refine. We are working on our beta program. If you haven’t registered yet, it is not too late, you can do so from our homepage.
Are you an OpenRefine user or developer? How do you see the future of OpenRefine? Integration of new plugins and extensions? Share your thoughts in the comment section.