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Hyperbolic Trees 92

An Anonymous Reader writes "Well, this is not really news, but I've been playing with these things all day and they are so neat. Inxight Has a couple Java demos of a Hyperbolic tree. A New(?) UI concept from Xerox PARC. " requires Java, and mine is busted. But maybe I'll fix that and toy with that sorta thing for comments or something. Hmm.
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Hyperbolic Trees

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  • by dmd ( 404 )
    Can anyone point me to this software? I can't seem to find it.

  • The Usenet one is especially neet.
  • click in the blank areas to refocus the view in that direction.
  • 500 Server Error
    The hard access limit for this user has been reached

    "TIMBER!!!!!!" *crash*

  • Come on! It'd make navigating comments so much easier! And think! You could color code comments based on their score! ;)
  • Posted by WVG:

    Looks pretty good but it's not new, like others I've seen it before but then it gives you a good quick look around a site with all possible links to attend. Cool stuff.
  • "Site Manager" on SGI's looks just like this. Actually, much nicer, as it's realtime shaded OpenGL... :) "Fsn" is nice too - the file manager seen in Jurassic Park - another fly-through OpenGL app. This concept doesn't strike me as anything "new."
  • It's not new, this stuff is used in one of Microsoft's IIS web analysis tools. It's VERY cool. I had always been extremely skeptical of any software that said it could 'map' a web site -- the tree structures you build with web links are very rarely simple enough to render easily. But the hyperbolic tree scheme works quite well.
  • I navigate to "rec", and then I can't see any of the subhierarchies of rec - they all end up off the screen.

    This hyperbolic thing is fun and nifty, but I don't see it as being very useful at all.
  • But you can't see the subhierarchies so you can't tell which blank area to click on to bring the view over the, for instance, so you have to keep trying until you find the right one.

    Like I said, a toy.

    And it doesn't do a good job with web sites because web sites are an interconnected "web" (hey, amazing how that works) rather than a strict heirarchy.
  • Yes, it's been around for a while - I've seen various implementations of it, although I think this is the best that I've seen in terms of features.

    I wrote a nice backend in Perl that can feed one of these Java applets with the structures that it requires. It's nice to see a good way to mix Java and Perl - let Java do nice graphical client stuff, and have Perl/LWP doing what it's best at at the backend.

  • Does anyone know of something (preferably a library) for doing a similar thing, but as maps (the geometric term) instead of a tree style?

    "In true sound..." -Agents of Good Root
  • Not CDF, RDF. RDF is making its way through the W3C now, and is the technology behind the new My Netscape channel format. Mozilla definitely has some sort of RDF support, though I doubt that it has flythroughs or hyperbolic trees or anything. As a historical note, the work that eventually became MCF/Hotsauce and RDF began in the CYC AI project.

  • The Brain (for Windows) is available from I am working on a similar program (for Linux and the PalmPilot) called Synapse. The Pilot version is available now, and I'm working on the Linux version. For more info, see my web page at
  • Actually, I am writing an Open Source program similar to the Brain (for Linux and the PalmPilot). It's called Synapse, and you can find out more at The Pilot version is available now, and I'm working on the Linux version.
  • Any mirrors for this particular display? Some of us virgin-pure souls haven't seen the IIS analysis tools, so there's no context in which to understand the comments above.
  • This seems like a modified MetaContent Format routine... MCF is [some of the basis for RDF] it's an interesting tech, but I don't know how usefull *that* style of visual is [keep the data structure, change the interface]

    for more info on HotSouce/MCF... this was picked off of the Java Interface... go here Art icle []

  • I was able to get in briefly before getting this error, and after your comment was posted to Slashdot. I wonder if it's per hour, or per client, or what?

    I still think it's time Slashdot came up with an httpd accelerator for all of the links it's pointing at.
  • by laertes ( 4218 )
    Maybe I'll make a Gtk+ widget for a hyperbolic tree. It could essentially work like a tree widget, but on a larger scale. Good idea?
  • The main guy behind Hotsauce left Apple for Netscape to work on CDF amd Metadata (not sure about the acronym though). His work lives on in that spec.

    Gecko should have some of these capabilities too.
  • by J05H ( 5625 )
    Can you post a link for FSN? I hadn't realized
    that that was a real GUI. Coolness.
  • Great to hear. Post the code, and maybe it will be developed faster.
  • by Optic ( 6803 )
    This thing has been on Xerox's site for years now. :) Certainly not new.
  • Did they remove the limit?
  • So - it's just like those mindmap thingies they tried to have us use in school. Neat, but not new.
  • Xerox PARC originally did this for file systems. I nearly did my undergrad project on it. That would be 4 years ago, and it was not new then. Its neat though.
  • This is kind of likeThe Brain [].

    I used it a lot when I used M$. I liked it a lot, and I miss it. It was absolutely the most useful information organization tool I've ever encountered.

    It even saved info in notes area automatically evertime you type so that when M$ froze, you would still have all your data.

    I think there is a linux version "Synapse" in the works, but it's not complete, and has a way to go (I believe). They have a Palm version becoming stable IIRC.
  • He's got the GTK app for linux that will more or less to what The Brain does, except do it, in html instead of RTF.

    I've followed his mail list for some time. And he knows what he's doing. He's GPLing it, maybe he could use collaborators... Check it out.
  • Is there some place where we can download a "free" version of a hyperbolic tree java class?
  • by Athos ( 11806 )
    The Brain is one of the more useful tools I've come across. Haven't tried it under Wine yet, but when you're dealing with hundreds of slivers of information, it helps a lot. (I don't really see any particular reason it shouldn't work under WINE, but...) :)

  • web navigation is only one of many ways to use hyperbolic tree. The Inxite applett is being used where I work to navigate databases and to build database queries. This is really cool stuff.
  • All these comments about how this is useful.. I agree... I think it would really be nice for utilities like CHEOPS.

    And if it supports recursive trees (read cyclic) then it would be pretty nice for a man page reader and a web site browser (like LINBOT).

    That would mean of course that we would need a GTK port. Doesn't sound impossible, or even that hard. And I would definitely use it.

    Anybody game for coding this one up? Sounds like a GOOD, SHORT TERM, free software project, same license as GTK (of course).
  • Well, this may not be all bad. I would imagine that they don't have a patent on everything that looks remotely similar. So instead of a hyberbolic function, We can modify the domain and make it a parabolic function or something like that. It won't be the same, but it would probably be just as effective (and comfortable) for the user.
  • If we write an open source version of this, can we call it Pinky?

  • It looks like Hotsauce/ProjectX still exists... []
  • yeah, I'd like to know that too.
  • I just made it in.
  • What determines the score your comment recieves?
  • ACs get a default score of 0. Logins get a default score of 1. The moderators can decrease the score to -1 to hide flames and pointless posts. I presume that the moderators can increase a score, but I haven't seen an example of it in practice.
  • yeah, i remember this from the IIS web site analysis tool. it's cool to see it working as a java applet, though.

    i can't believe that it's particularly revolutionary. even before the IIS tool came around, i'm sure i've seen stuff like this before.
  • Damn, you stole my idea. :(
    Now all we need is someone to make one in [C C++ ObjC Perl Python SCHEME]
  • by snafu ( 18104 )
    That's pretty neat. Worth a look (if your java works).
  • Natrificial [] has a product called The Brain that is similar except consumer-oriented. I tried it out a while ago for a couple of days.
  • Mmm... and then we could try to take over the world.

  • Ohhh, I thought the "500 ... hard limit reached" msg was originating from my employer's [stupid] firewall (on account of my having downloaded the Trailer2 and such! :-), but I'm logged in on my personal login, and I just got that msg when trying to get to this site.

    {Sorry if this is a stupid question. I'm not too well-versed on web admin stuff. Actually, to be honest, I'm pretty damned ignorant of it! :-}

    Anyway, when you see that "500" msg, is it just a matter of trying again repeatedly, or does it mean that the server panicked* and there's no point in trying again for a while?

    * I hate spelling that word that way. It really oughta be "paniced", but that doesn't look much better! *sigh*
    Mark Conty
  • by mdc ( 20103 )
    In the preceding article about flexible keyboards, there was a reply by Anonymous Coward that included prices, and its score was set to 2. Haven't seen too many of those...
    Mark Conty
  • by tomk ( 20364 )
    I don't like it. And I fear that things such as this will encourage poor site construction.

    A well-designed site shouldn't need a tool like this to be able to find what you are looking for quickly.
  • The chain of idea theft in this space is long... Xerox /probably/ stole this from Apple, who /definatly/ stole the idea from the work of a couple of MIT Media Lab Researchers, Lisa Strausfeld and some other guy. They went on to form a company called Perspecta which has strayed far from the visualization fold since it was founded (they now do this OLAP for the web thing).
  • Hard access limit has been reached for this user.

  • At the risk of saying "yeah, me too", IBM's got something like this in their alphaworks stuff, namely Mapuccino (, especially the "fisheye" view.

    The Inxight applet is certainly cleaner, though.

  • Hey, while I'm at it, is a similar graph viewer.
  • The main force of H.T. is drawing links without having them cross each other. Things near the root are easy to access, for the rest you need to go all the way through the web. I suggest you try Umap Web at . Unfortunately, for Windows only...
  • I say someone should throw in another axis (z) and add support for another mouse and have a "grab/pull" shell for windows (or Linux,etc...)
  • At work we are just starting to impliment it. The best is the cost... try ~$30,000 to start and then like ~$80,000 for it to work on our 600,000 plus links and then 15% a year for support... but it is worth it... navigation of complex biological philums and the sort is great through this interface... even cooler in my mind is their linguistic tools... the summarizer is our next purchase... thing is I have this odd feeling I have seen this design before, like 3 years ago and on some waco freinds unix box... hummm

1 Angstrom: measure of computer anxiety = 1000 nail-bytes