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Hyperbole is an open, efficient, programmable information management and
hypertext system. It is intended for everyday work on any UNIX platform
supported by GNU Emacs. It works well with the versions of Emacs that
support MS-Windows, X or NEXTSTEP windows: XEmacs and GNU Emacs.
Hyperbole allows hypertext buttons to be embedded within unstructured and
structured files, mail messages and news articles. It offers intuitive
mouse-based control of information display within multiple windows. It also
provides point-and-click access to Info manuals, ftp archives, Wide-Area
Information Servers (WAIS), and the World-Wide Web (WWW) hypertext system
through encapsulations of software that support these protocols.
Hyperbole consists of four parts:
1. Info Management: an interactive information management interface,
including a powerful contact manager, which anyone can use. It
is easy to pick up and use since it introduces only a few new
mechanisms and provides user-level facilities through a menu
interface, which you control from the keyboard or the mouse;
2. Hypertext Outliner: an outliner with multi-level autonumbering
and permanent ids attached to each outline node for use as
hypertext link anchors, plus flexible view specifications that
can be embedded within links or used interactively;
3. Button Types: A set of hyper-button types that provides
core hypertext and other behaviors. Users can make simple
changes to button types and those familiar with Emacs Lisp can
quickly prototype and deliver new types;
4. Programming Library: a set of programming library classes for
system developers who want to integrate Hyperbole with another
user interface or as a back-end to a distinct system. (All of
Hyperbole is written in Emacs Lisp for ease of modification.
Although Hyperbole was initially designed as a prototype, it has
been engineered for real-world usage and is well structured.)
A Hyperbole user works with buttons; he may create, modify,
move or delete buttons. Each button performs a specific action, such as
linking to a file or executing a shell command.
There are three categories of Hyperbole buttons:
1. Explicit Buttons
created by Hyperbole, accessible from within a single document;
2. Global Buttons
created by Hyperbole, accessible anywhere within a user's
network of documents;
3. Implicit Buttons
buttons created and managed by other programs or embedded
within the structure of a document, accessible from within a
single document. Hyperbole recognizes implicit buttons by
contextual patterns given in their type specifications.
Hyperbole buttons may be clicked upon with a mouse to activate them or
to describe their actions. Thus, a user can always check how a button
will act before activating it. Buttons may also be activated from a
keyboard. (In fact, virtually all Hyperbole operations, including menu
usage, may be performed from any standard character terminal interface, so
one need not be anchored to a workstation all day).
Hyperbole does not enforce any particular hypertext or information management
model, but instead allows you to organize your information in large or small
chunks as you see fit. The Hyperbole outliner organizes information
hierarchies which may also contain links to external information sources.
Some of Hyperbole's most important features include:
Buttons may link to information or may execute procedures, such as
starting or communicating with external programs;
One simply drags between a button source location and a link destination
to create or to modify a link button. The same result can be achieved
from the keyboard.
Buttons may be embedded within electronic mail messages;
Outlines allow rapid browsing, editing and movement of chunks of
information organized into trees (hierarchies);
Other hypertext and information retrieval systems may be
encapsulated under a Hyperbole user interface (a number of samples
Typical Hyperbole applications include:
Personal Information Management
Overlapping link paths provide a variety of views into an
A search facility locates buttons in context and permits quick
Embed cross-references in your favorite documentation format.
Add a point-and-click interface to existing documentation.
Link code and design documents. Jump to the definition of an
identifier from its use within code or its reference within
Capture ideas and then quickly reorganize them with the Hyperbole
outliner. Link to related ideas, eliminating the need to copy
and paste information into a single place.
Create tutorials with embedded buttons that show students how
things work while explaining the concepts, e.g. an introduction
to UNIX commands. This technique can be much more effective than
Supplement programs that manage archives from incoming
information streams by having them add topic-based buttons that
link to the archive holdings. Users can then search and create
their own links to archive entries.