What is HyperLINK?

HyperLINK can be viewed as quite a number of things. Most simply, it is a managing program for any (reasonable) number of HyperLINK Applications and Modules.

A HyperLINK Application can be something as simple as a flat filing system, or as complex as a mini word processor or relational database.

A HyperLINK Module is more of a "tool", for use by HyperLINK Applications in manipulating or collecting data, or controlling external devices or actions. A simple example of a HyperLINK Module is a routine to convert graphics for display in a database Application, or a driver for a CD-ROM or Laserdisk, as well as sound, music, and speech Modules.

The true power of HyperLINK lies in its Hypertext-like capabilities. Hypertext is a system (or theory) developed mostly in 1970's that aspires to replace normal, linear text with smaller text topics "linked" to each other. This system can be applied beyond simply text to encompass data, graphics, sound, and external control as well (these days, this is popularly called Multi-media).

An example of Hypertext

As a simple example of Hypertext, imagine a file listing software for the ST. In the title page, you select the heading "Multimedia Applications", and a list of available multimedia programs is displayed, possibly with some information on multimedia programs in general. You then select HyperLINK from this list, and a page of information on HyperLINK is displayed. If it were a very comprehensive file, it might even let you select topics like "hypertext" and "database" and look up general definitions or explanations. Or, from the HyperLINK description, you could select JMG Software's name and be shown a list of all the applications we develop and general information about us.

(To take things one step further, under our company listing you could select "ST Software" as being our specialty, and that link could take you right back to the table of contents of the ST software guide - a complete circle. That's the fun of hypertext.)

An example of HyperLINK

One of the simplest examples is the Message/Address/Calendar Applica- tion set developed for HyperLINK. The phone Message App lets you take standard phone messages, enter them on a graphics-based screen and store them in a database. But then, to call up information on a company or a person named in that message, just click on the name and it will display the Address book form with any information available. Then you could click on the Appointments link and it would display on the Calendar form any appointments made with that person. You could then zoom in on one particular day's schedule, and even go look at the Address or Message record of someone else from that day.

Another example developed is a "Music Sampler", which uses a HyperLINK module to control the Atari CDAR CD-ROM Player in music mode. It would display a list of CD's on which data has been entered, and let you pick one to sample. Assuming you put the correct CD into the drive, it would give a list of all tracks on the CD, and from it's database provide infor- mation on each track. You could then call up an extended information screen on that track, providing some history or information, or you could call up text on the composer/artist or author (with picture of course). All while having the computer play the requested selection for you.

HyperLINK capabilities

HyperLINK can create links between any sort of data (one Application to another) and Modules. All you have to define is how to do the link, and HyperLINK will do the rest. For instance, Hyperlink has a build-in dBASE compatible database manager. It automatically knows how to look up a name found in one database from another, you just tell it what fields to use. For more involved links, you can include custom modules for the application. An assortment of such modules is provided with HyperLINK, and any others can be added at any time (i.e. programmed in C and loaded into HyperLINK with it's Module-load feature).

Each Application is provided its own windows for its forms, so a full history of links can be present on the screen at the same time, and you can effectively edit all the data displayed at the same time. A single application (i.e. the Message App) can have multiple windows displayed at one time as well (making this the first ST program to use the "cluttered desktop" metaphor).

Some Specs:

HyperLINK specifications are Copyright (C) 1990, George Geczy and David Thompson, JMG Software Int'l Inc.

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