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1. Introduction

This chapter describes what Hyperbole is, lists some of its potential applications, explains how to subscribe to its mail lists, and then summarizes the structure of the rest of the manual.

1.1 Hyperbole Overview  
1.2 Mail Lists  
1.3 Manual Overview  

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1.1 Hyperbole Overview

A Hyperbole user works with buttons embedded within textual documents; 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:

explicit buttons
created by Hyperbole, accessible from within a single document;

global buttons
created by Hyperbole, accessible anywhere within a user's network of documents;

implicit 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 (explained later).

Explicit Hyperbole buttons may be embedded within any type of text file. Implicit buttons may be recognized anywhere within a text file, depending on the implicit button types that are available. All global buttons are stored in a single location and activated by entering their names, rather than by direct selection, the means used to activate explicit and implicit buttons.

To summarize:

Button Category   Active Within        Activation Means      Managed By
Explicit          a single document    direct selection      Hyperbole
Global            any document         specifying its name   Hyperbole
Implicit          a matching context   direct selection      other tools

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). See section 4. Smart Keys.

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:

Typical Hyperbole applications include:

personal information management
Overlapping link paths provide a variety of views into an information space. A search facility locates buttons in context and permits quick selection.

documentation and code browsing
Cross-references may be embedded within documentation. One can add a point-and-click interface to existing documentation, link code with associated design documents, or jump to the definition of an identifier by selecting its name within code or documentation.

The Hyperbole outliner, See section 7. Outliner, is an effective tool for capturing ideas and then quickly reorganizing them in a meaningful way. Links to related ideas are easy to create, eliminating the need to copy and paste information into a single place.

help/training systems
Tutorials containing buttons can show students how things work while explaining the concepts, e.g. an introduction to local commands. This technique can be much more effective than written documentation alone.

archive managers
Programs that manage archives from incoming information streams may be supplemented 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.

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1.2 Mail Lists

If you use Hyperbole, you should consider joining one of the two Hyperbole interest mailing lists. See section 5. Menus, and the description of the the Msg/ menu item, for a convenient means of joining and mailing to these lists.

There are two Hyperbole-related mail lists. One for discussing using hyperbole, hyperbole-users, and the other for reporting bugs, bug-hyperbole.

To subscribe to the mail lists use the links below with your web browser (or if your using hyperbole just click on them)



All administration of the Hyperbole mailing lists should be
dealth with one of these web addresses.  That includes addition,
change, or deletion.

Don't send administrative requests to the mail lists or people will
wonder why you don't know that the list administration is handled on
the web interfaces.

So there are two Hyperbole-related mail lists:


Mail list for discussion of all issues regarding using
Always use your Subject and/or Summary: lines to state the position that
your message takes on the topic that it addresses.

Statements end with periods, questions with question marks (typically),
and high energy, high impact declarations with exclamation points.  This
simple rule makes all e-mail communication much easier for recipients to
handle appropriately.
If you ask a question, your subject line should end with a ?,
e.g. "Subject: How can man page SEE ALSOs be made implicit buttons?"  A
"Subject: Re: How can ..." then indicates an answer to the question.
Question messages should normally include your Hyperbole and Emacs
version numbers and clearly explain your problem and surrounding issues.
Otherwise, you will simply waste the time of those who may want to help
you.  (Your top-level Hyperbole menu shows its version number and {M-x
emacs-version RET} gives the other.)
If you ask questions, you should consider adding to the discussion by
telling people the kinds of work you are doing or contemplating doing
with Hyperbole.  In this way, the list will not be overwhelmed by
messages that ask for, but provide no information.


Bug reports and suggestions should go here. It is important here that
you include as much info about your environment and program versions
as possible.

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1.3 Manual Overview

Remember that the `DEMO' file included in the Hyperbole distribution demonstrates many of Hyperbole's standard facilities, (@xref{Top, Preface}) for more details.

See section A. Glossary, for definitions of Hyperbole terms for quick reference, so in some cases terms are not precisely defined within the text. Be sure to reference the glossary if a term is unclear to you. Although you need not have a keen understanding of all of these terms, a quick scan of the Glossary should help throughout Hyperbole use.

If you have a question, feature suggestion or bug report on Hyperbole, follow the instructions given in D. Suggestion or Bug Reporting. A few commonly asked questions are answered in the manual, E. Questions and Answers. If you are interested in classic articles on hypertext, G. References.

See section 2. Installation, for explanations of how to obtain, install, configure and load Hyperbole for use.

See section 3. Buttons, for an overview of Hyperbole buttons and how to use them.

See section 4. Smart Keys, for an explanation of the innovative, context-sensitive mouse and keyboard Action and Assist Keys offered by Hyperbole. See section B. Smart Key Reference, for a complete reference on what the Action and Assist Keys do in each particular context that they recognize.

(Keep in mind as you read about how to use Hyperbole that in many cases, it provides a number of overlapping interaction methods are provided to support different work styles and hardware limitations. You need learn only one with which you can become comfortable, in such instances.)

See section 5. Menus, for summaries of Hyperbole menu commands and how to use the minibuffer-based menus that work on dumb terminals.

See section 6. Entering Arguments, for special support that Hyperbole provides for entering arguments when prompted for them.

See section 7. Outliner, for concept and usage information on the autonumbered, hypertextual outliner. A full summary of the outliner commands that are bound to keys may be found in C. Outliner Keys.

See section 8. Rolodex, for concept and usage information on the rapid lookup, hierarchical, free text record management system included with Hyperbole.

See section 9. Window Configurations, for instructions on how to save and restore the set of buffers and windows that appear with a frame. This feature lets you switch among working contexts easily, even on a dumb terminal. Such configurations only last throughout your current editor session.

Developers comfortable with Emacs Lisp will want to continue on through to, 10. Developing with Hyperbole.

See section F. Future Work, for future directions in Hyperbole's evolution.

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