The KnownSpace Datamanager
"Halfway To Anywhere"

Early Access KnownSpace Hydrogen README

This program is alpha software. USE WITH CAUTION.

This early access release is intended for adventurous developers only. You will need Java 1.2 or later, JavaMail, and, very likely, a 400MHz, 128MB machine, or better; the more memory you can feed Hydrogen the happier it is.

You can download the KnownSpace Hydrogen zip file here

Interface documentation is here

The programming tutorials, the API, and the kernel design are here

Some of the project's background and future plans are here

Please report any problems or comments here.

Early Access Release Notes

When you run the program it will bring up a small window; this is an early form of the overall program interface. The window has two parts: the interface starter control and the simpleton starter control. Once Hydrogen is out of alpha (perhaps by the fall of 2000) there will be a number of interfaces listed on the left-hand side, and a number of starter simpletons listed on the right-hand side. You can select whichever interfaces or starter simpletons you wish to run in the current session using those lists.

You can select which simpletons you want to run (say, to test the system or to read email) on the right-hand side, then click "Start Simpletons". Once the simpletons have loaded some data, you can choose the interface or interfaces you want to start (right now there is only one---Cerulean). Double clicking that interface's name (or clicking the interface's name then clicking the "Start UserInterfaces" button) will launch that interface.

The program continues to run even after you close an interface's window, so you can start another interface (when we have more than one), or start up two or more interfaces at the same time (when we have more than one). The "Shutdown" button below the two control lists will close the whole program. You can also shutdown the whole program by closing the overall interface's window.

Clicking "Start Simpletons" will barf gobs of data to stdout. Don't worry, this is just a test dump, it's not an error. Eventually the message torrent will die down.

Clicking "Start UserInterfaces" (after clicking "Cerulean") will launch Cerulean. You can do that before or after you run the test simpletons. If you do it before, and this is the first time you're running the program, KnownSpace Hydrogen won't contain any data, but you can still play with the interface. For runs after the first, Hydrogen will remember the data it previously read in, so you need not run any test simpletons again.

On startup, only one of the four cluster tabs (the four round white or grey things around the inner circle's perimeter) has anything in it (the white one in the upper half of the circle), and then only if you had preloaded the right simpletons. If you click on that cluster you should see a number of small white circles appearing in the inner big circle---these are entities (data objects). Right now they're just random webpages and newsarticles from our websites and newsgroup (or your email, if you chose to run the email simpleton). You can double-click any of the entities to pop up a simple browser on that entity. You can also click any hotlink in any webpage and surf the web.

You can create new entities and clusters (right now only with menus), delete or rename an entity, drag entities to the clipboard (the middle circle) or to the abyss (the outer circle), and undo the drags. You can also undo entity or cluster tab renamings, and examine the history of your commands to undo anything (except drags within the inner circle). You can also move the entities around on the stage (the center circle), either by single clicking and dragging, or by creating a drag rectangle and dragging. Drag and drop works on Win32 (95, 98, and NT), but there's a bug on Solaris, and Linux behavior is presently unknown. On Solaris machines, drag and drop can sometimes lock up the program, at which point you'll have to kill it.

You can also search for entities by name or by substring in name (plain substring search for now, no regular expressions yet). When you end the session the program saves its state to disk. Also, you can read your news and mail, but you can't mark up the remote copies (that is, anything you do locally will not be reflected back to the remote news or mail store). Further, you can't (yet) read your local files. You can surf, but you can't read in your bookmarks with the program, nor can you save the webpages you surf.

Obviously KnownSpace Hydrogen is not yet an immediately functional piece of software. We hope, however, that it's enough of a start to convince you that you won't be wasting your time to help develop it further.

Getting It Running on Windows (NT, 98, or 95)

You will need the Java SDK 1.2 or higher.

Other Platforms

There are as yet no startup instructions for Linux, Solaris, BeOS, or any other platform, but, briefly, any unix platform can use the "Makefile" included in the release. Also, the program currently can't work on Macs at all because it needs Java 1.2, which is not yet available on the Macs.