we write about the things we build and the things we consume
In a chat with @JamesCridland last week I learnt that he knew about URIplay and he knew about Atlas and yet he didn’t know they were the same thing. It occurred to me this might be the case for many other people out there, and that a recap would come handy for us all, as we ramp up towards a new version.
URIplay  was the main reason for incorporating MetaBroadcast in the first place. In those ancient days it looked like RDF was going to imminently rock the world, and URIplay (URIs that one can play) was heavily influenced by this world view. Also, its datastore was MySQL.
When time came to dial down RDF and support many more formats, URIplay needed to be a lot more performant and scalable, too, so a complete refactor was needed, which included a move to Mongo DB. It also seemed like the right point to baptise it anew. Enter 2.0, known as Atlas , or fondly, internally, as Otter. Chris has wrote at length about the road between 1.0 and 2.0.
And Chris wrote again, a year later, about the even betterer Atlas 3.0 , known to many of us here as Owl. It is Owl that currently powers systems with the BBC, Channel 4 (one of which is in the running for an IBC innovation award in content delivery), and RadioTimes, as well as a large and wonderful community of thousands of developers, XMLTV, and various projects that our partners at the Press Association are setting up with their customers.
So with many more clients for our API, and many new team members for our Atlas, it wasn’t going to be long until we reconsidered the future of our global video & audio index. The work on 4.0  is well underway, and ever more thrilling. You have been hearing about future features (Jonathan: topics), as some got rolled into Atlas 3.0 already, past woes (Adam: MongoDB issues) that are part of the reason we’re moving to Cassandra, and greater discoverability (Liam: the new API Explorer). And now you’ll learn that Atlas 4.0 is lovingly called DEER.
Its brass alter ego is waiting on a shelf to replace the Owl on the mantlepiece (while the Otter got rather lost). Meanwhile, you’ll be hearing a lot more about Deer, as Tom will write about its architecture, Sergio about Cassandra, Liam about using Atlas with YouTube, Luke about the new liveliness of docs, Chris about why Atlas 4.0 will stand by content IDs, and Adam about monitoring. All this as Jonathan drives the API design and delivers prototypes that push the boundaries of what’s possible, documenting it all in the docs, and on the blog.