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skyBuilders Glossary of Terms
Also see the glossary we prepared for CMS Review and CM Professionals

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API
builderPage
builtPage
Calendar
Calendar-driven
Community computer
Context
Core
Database-backed
hyperTree
Master Archive
Module
Multi-Lingual
Open Database Model
Open Source
Persistent Archive
serverPage
skyBox
skyBuilt
skyConverter
skyFile
skyForm
skyLight
skyLingo
skyLink
skyPage
skyTalk
skyPorter
skyRocket
skyServer
skyWare
timeLine
timeTraveller
User-built
virtual platform
Web-based software or "webWare"
Web Publishing

 

 

 

 

skyBuilders API

skyBuilders API is an Applications Programming Interface that describes the design and construction of timeLines serverPages, a special form of server page (e.g., written in Active Server Pages, Java Server Pages, or PHP) that compartmentalizes client-side builderPage code to facilitate code conversion between server-side languages (Java, JavaScript, VBScript, Perl, etc.) for rapid deployment of skyBuilders serverPages in multiple development environments.

The skyBuilders API will also define standard entities and attributes (tables, field names, and field types) of our Open Database Model (ODBM). By following ODBM standards, third-party developers can write database-backed web applications that access the standard database model, and thus work alongside other web applications without creating a redundant separate database. Information entered once in a master organizational database is available wherever and whenever it is needed.

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builderPage

A timeLines builderPage runs in an invisible frame on the browser (client). It contains the code (e.g., the buildCalendar function) to rewite a (visible) builtPage on demand.

Every builderPage is itself created and served by a timeLines serverPage, which dynamically generates the client-side code and the dataset needed to support that code. This means that timeLines can interact with the user without constantly going back to the web server and database. So we have the sequence:

     serverPage > builderPage > builtPage

builderPages can hold programming code and other data stable in the browser, even as everything you see in the builtPages is changing. This makes the browser a very effective virtual computer that can run very powerful programs (the timeLines modules and contexts).

The timeLines core contains the builderPages - FoundationBuilder, CalendarBuilder, TOCBuilder, ContentsBuilder, and timeLinesBuilder. The most important builderPage is FoundationBuilder, which is the home for all the global variables and a couple of dozen utility functions. Developers can make builderPages visible by turning on the debug flag in Welcome > ...Administer Preferences.

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builtPage

A timeLines builtPage is one of many visible pages that are dynamically generated in the browser without having to make a round trip to the web server and database.

For example, the timeLines Calendar can rebuild itself to display any date, jumping by days, weeks, months, or years, without calling the web server. The Calendar page in the interface is a builtPage.

When you click on a date, dynamic JavaScript in the buitPage changes the date global variable in FoundationBuilder to the one you selected, then calls the buildCalendar() function in the CalendarBuilder builderPage. buildCalendar() signals other pages in the interface - usually pages in the Contents frame or timeLines window - to change their data and refresh, and then it rebuilds the visible Calendar builtPage almost instantly.

You are always interacting with visible builtPages. They in turn call builderPages when they need to rewite themselves. This is because an HTML page cannot contain script to rewrite itself. If it did, it would erase its own script code when it tried to do a rewrite, and crash the browser.

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Calendar

The Calendar and the timeTraveller control work together to provide precise time navigation. The Calendar is used when you first enter a Module to choose a date. Your chosen date is highlighted in yellow.

The Calendar offers a selection of year, month, and date. Clicking on arrows next to year and month lets you move one year (or one month) forward and back. Clicking on the year itself makes the year editable. You can enter any year.

Clicking on the month name opens three more rows with all twelve months. Click on one of these to jump quickly to another month.

At the bottom of the calendar is the current date. Click on it anytime to return to the current date.

If you are in a module that has a timeLines window, you open the timeLines window by clicking on the miniature timeTravel icon that gets added to the bottom of the Calendar. The timeLines window will display information for the selected date.

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Calendar-driven

A great deal of the data in most databases is time-dependent. Seeing the data displayed over the time dimension makes it more understandable, and facilitates management decision making. Web sites are most useful when they change with time to support the changing nature of an organization. Obvious examples are all the events, resources scheduling, newsletters, and project management of an organization.

Calendar-driven describes an interface that intuitively navigates in the time dimension to display that data.

skyBuilders timeLines includes a Calendar control to choose a date, and an unusual timeTravel control, which lets you navigate to the future and the past and allows you to zoom in to minutes of time or out to weeks or months of time.

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Community Computer

Community computer is our term for a database-backed web site that allows everyone in a community to access their information in the "shared space" of the web server and database server.

A community computer can provide many of the services available from free Application Service Providers (ASPs), but with the security of keeping the community's data in the community database, where it cannot be "mined" for email addresses and marketing information by the web service provider.

Besides all the organizational information found there about events, resources and project management, web pages publishing, forms, accounting, etc., the community computer can have a personal information manager for each member user, as well as personal files. This puts that information in reach from any web browser.

A user can keep important work files there ("skyFiles"), for example favorite bookmarks files, web-based ("skyTalk")presentations , word documents or spreadsheets, even MP3 files, etc. Users can give other member users specific permissions to access their files.

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Context

Module Menu

The Context Menu is the right-hand drop-down menu, next to the Modules menu. It provides the actions (e.g., "Search for a Member") you can choose in the selected module.

Navigating the timeLines interface consists mostly of choosing a Module (Pages, Events, etc.) then selecting a date from the Calendar and an action from the Context Menu for that Module.

Once you have navigated to a particular Context (and perhaps specific settings in the timeLines window for that Context), you can generate a skyRocket or skyLink to instantly return you or a Guest to the same Module and Context and settings.

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Core The "core" of timeLines is a set of serverPages that includes FoundationBuilder, CalendarBuilder, TOCBuilder (menus), and ContentsBuilder. This core launches the Welcome module. It also includes the Members module, which is essential to access user privileges.

The timeLines core is then augmented by optional modules like Events, Pages, Reservations, and Tasks.

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Database-backed

"Database-backed" describes web sites that keep important information in a database. They allow the web site to support information "transactions" with the user, with the results of all transactions stored permanently in the database. They allow a web site to have a memory.

Every organization and business has a database, even if it's just a collection of written records. The magic starts when those records are stored in a powerful "relational" database management system that allows "relations" to be made between the data in records that might not have seemed related at first.

And the really dazzling part comes when the database is made accessible over the web (securely of course and with varying levels of permissions) to the many people inside and outside the organization who have an interest in the data.

Professor Philip Greenspun of MIT has made the case for the database in his book "Database-Backed Web Sites" and the more recent "Philip and Alex's Guide to Web Publishing."

A major objective of the world's larget corporations is to combine all their databases into a central "data warehouse," from which information can be analyzed by sophisticated "decision support systems." With the cost of databases and web servers so low, even the world's smallest enterprises can now afford their own "enterprise information systems" and do "enterprise resource planning" over the web.

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hyperTree

HyperTree is a linking architecture that allows items to be included in a branch of a hierarchical tree for which the item is also the node at the top of the branch.

Normally such a recursive architecture is unsafe because a tree-walking algorithm could get into an infinite loop. Since web hyperlinks have this recursive property, skyBuilders has added it to its catalog structures for products, among other things.

HyperTree structures are implemented by many-to-many relationships between items in the database, and business logic that avoids the infinite recursive loops.

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Master Archive

The Master Archive lists all the scheduled versions of a timeLined skyPage, including those scheduled to be visible at future dates and times. From here each version can be opened in skyWriter for editing and rescheduling.

Access to the Master Archive is via the Pages > Publish Pages context, or by clicking on a skyWrite link visible in a skyPage if the logged-in user has edit privileges.

The Master Archive allows for adding new pages, singly or in multiples pre-scheduled automatically on selected time intervals. Top of Glossary

 

 

 

 

Module

A module is a collection of serverPages that access a master organizational database. Examples of modules are Pages, Events, Accounts, and Tasks. They are modular in the sense that the timeLine program can be run without them. A module adds fuctionality to timeLines, and can be bought separately from the core programs (Welcome and Members) which are needed by all the others.

The Modules menu is the first of two drop-down menus in the timeLines interface.

Modules Menu

Each serverPage provides one of the actions (e.g., "Search for a Member") you can choose from the second (Contexts) drop-down menu. Additional serverPages open new windows to provide details, or access further actions like "Associate a Member."

Context Menu

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Multi-Lingual

Multi-Lingual describes skyBuilders unique approach to internationalization. Every text string in the timeLines interface - button labels, column headings, row names, hyperlink text, captions, etc. - is stored in the skyLingo database in multiple language/country groupings called "locales," e.g., Portuguese-Brazil or French-Canada.

timeLines administration pages allow access to this valuable multiple language resource. Administrators can add their own custom sets of text strings, based on (starting with) any of the languages available, which can then be edited to the specific nomenclature of the organization.

The multi-lingual skyLingo database is available on line at lingo.skyBuilders.com. Commentary, criticisms, and suggestions are welcome for new strings needed by web developers who want their webWare to run in many countries. Web developers are free to use these text strings in their work, and may license the ODBM skyLingo data in various RDBMS formats for adding to their own database-backed web applications.

skyBuilders works with native translators in several countries who keep in touch with the rapidly evolving web terminology in their locale.

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Open Database Model

The Open Database Model (ODBM) is an initiative to build very large databases like those of the top Enterprise Information Systems, but at economy prices, and to expose the data structure so multiple applications, including those from independent third-party developers, can all work on shared data.

A review committee will manage the naming conventions for new entities/tables in the model, as well as attributes/fields and field types/sizes.

ODBM design will take advantage of the latest theories in logical data modelling and data warehouse designs. And major sections of the database - persons/parties, products, orders, workflow, human resources, schedules/calendars, content management, etc. - will be based on industry standard practices that are the result of billions of dollars of corporate research, development, and practice.

Relations can be embedded or stored in the business logic (web application servers) for more flexibility.

Small enterprises can not afford the hundreds of thousands of dollars that go into database model designs. The ODBM initiative will give them a model that works for very large organizations, a clean design with great potential to handle all their needs and which scales well with organization growth. For more information go to www.opendatabasemodel.com

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Open Source

Open-source means that skyBuilders timeLines source code is openly available, and freely distributable in the sense that anyone may duplicate it and send it to others. They may charge for the distribution. They may use it for their own private purposes, modify it, and even sell the modifications. It does not, however, mean that it is freely usable. A license is required for use as part of skyBuilders timeLines. Parts of the programs may be adapted for other non-timeLines uses as long as it is not sold as "skyBuilders timeLines." skyBuilders™ is a trademark of skyBuilders.com.

The skyBuilders timeLines license includes product warranties and access to online and interactive Help. Our license insures that timeLines software works as intended. We welcome others to become a skyBuilder and co-develop the software, and will pay them for their developments that become part of the timeLines distribution, with cash and/or royalties.

The Open Source Initiative (www.opensource.org) defines "OSI Certified" software as follows:

Open source promotes software reliability and quality by supporting independent peer review and rapid evolution of source code. To be OSI certified, the software must be distributed under a license that guarantees the right to read, redistribute, modify, and use the software freely.

The case for Open Source is made most eloquently by Eric S. Raymond in his book "The Cathedral and the Bazaar", and most practically by the astonishing development of Linux. "With enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow" describes development scrutinized by interested parties anywhere in the world. The result is software more robust than any closed proprietary software developed by the world's largest software corporations.

The Free Software Foundation (www.fsf.org - Creators of the GNU/Linux Operating System of which Linux is the more famous kernel) ironically recognize the right to charge for some uses as long as the software can not be "closed." They say that:

``Free software'' is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of ``free speech'', not ``free beer.''

``Free software'' refers to the users' freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. More precisely, it refers to four kinds of freedom, for the users of the software:

A program is free software if users have all of these freedoms. When FSF speaks of free software, they are referring to freedom, not price. Thus, you should be free to redistribute copies, either with or without modifications, either gratis or charging a fee for distribution, to anyone anywhere. Being free to do these things means (among other things) that you do not have to ask or pay for permission.

Excerpts from the GNU Public License (GPL) require that: if you distribute copies of a (GPL) program, whether gratis or for a fee, you must give the recipients all the rights that you have. You must make sure that they, too, receive or can get the source code. And you must show them these terms so they know their rights. (GPL programs) protect your rights with two steps: (1) copyright the software, and (2) offer you this license which gives you legal permission to copy, distribute and/or modify the software.

skyBuilders timeLines is open-source in the Free Software Foundation sense that it is freely distributable and modifiable by anyone. It is not currently OSI-Certified because we want to charge for a usage license - to guarantee that timeLines modules all work with one another and with the copyright timeLines database, and it provides access to Help.

We plan to seek OSI certification of our skyBuilders Open Source License for serverPages, with the understanding that there will be a fee for use with our timeLines data model and database. Perhaps the fee is only for the database content and the support. The Open Source Group may decide this is inappropriate. We shall see.

We hope that a large development community will take advantage of skyBuilders open-source-code policy to participate in the creation of new timeLines serverPages and modules, and that they will appreciate receiving royalties from the sale of usage licenses.

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Persistent Archive

One of the big problems with "dynamically-served" web pages is the loss of the "persistence" of information that was part of Tim Berners-Lee's original design concept for the web and especially for the bookmark.

skyBuilders timeLined pages are dynamic and changeable. We decided that every time a new skyPage is created that we would automatically archive a version, and give it a unique name that allows it to be found easily under a permanent web address, so that bookmarks would never return "HTTP 404 Error. File not found."

The permanent name given to the archived file is the filename (e.g., foobar.html) with an interpolated human readable date-time stamp (e.g., foobar.20000730121520.html).

The persistent archive is found by clicking on our pArc™ "hive" symbol. The persistent archive shows all versions of the skyPage before the current version of the page.

If the user has editing privileges, access to all future versions of the page is available through the Master Archive.

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serverPage

timeLines serverPages are the heart of the skyBuilders timeLines system. They form the "web application" that runs as "middleware" in the middle tier of theSky virtual platform for a "community computer."

From their middle-tier position they can access the backend database tier via SQL queries, and then prepare the web page to be served to the browser tier. The most important serverPages generate the key builderPages of the core timeLines modules - FoundationBuilder, CalendarBuilder, TOCBuilder, ContentsBuilder, and timeLinesBuilder.

The serverPage architecture is quite complex, inteinfoving at least three layers of coding in multiple languages. At the top layer, the page is written in a server-side scripting language - Java, JavaScript, Perl, PHP, or VBScript. The first thing the serverPage does is to parse a Request from the browser, extracting command parameters and sometimes complex data structures from the client. These data structures are converted to server-side code.

At this level, powerful queries can be written in SQL to access the database tier via ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) calls, writing to the database or retrieving new datasets.

Datasets returned by the SQL queries must be initially stored in server-side data arrays. This data must then be converted to client-side data arrays (typically written in JavaScript) suitable for the Response to the browser.

The serverPage includes the code to dynamically generate the client-side dataset together with the client-side code needed to operate on that data (called "builderPages"). The serverPage also generates the final HTML, but by double indirection. It generates the builderPage code (including e.g., a buildTimeLines() function) which runs on the browser. The builderPage generates the dynamic HTML (including another layer of scripting) of the "builtPage."

Links to download timeLines serverPages code are in the Products descriptions, and the entire collection is available at webware.skybuilders.com.

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skyBox

A skyBox is an Wintel box or Unix box (computers with Windows or Unix operating systems) running a skyServer with skyBuilders timeLines community-computer webWare. builderPage with a buildPage function().

skyBoxes are available in tower configurations or a rackmount chassis suitable for installation at a web hosting data center. Typical models include a 1GHz processor and 100GB of data storage.

skyBoxes ship with fully configured timeLines webWare. skyBuilders can capture an organization's web site to a development skyBox, spend days or weeks getting it ready - with the organization following the development over the web and participating in all changes - then when the skyBox is ready we ship it to the organization's hosting data center.

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skyBuilt

A skyBuilt page refers to the builtPage that is generated on the browser in response to user interaction, without any need to return to the web server. Each builtPage needs a client-side builderPage with a buildPage function.

We also use skyBuilt to refer loosely to skyBuilder products.

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skyConverter

The skyConverter is a skyTool for converting a skyBuilders database from one RDBMS to another, for example, from SQL Server to Oracle. It is also used to upgrade a database to include changes in the data model, for example, converting a 1.0 version timeLines database to a version 1.1

skyConverter includes a database analysis tool that reports on the rows and columns (entities and attributes) of a database table. It retrieves the field names, field sizes, field types, etc. skyConverter outputs a report on the table, and generates the SQL code needed to recreate the table in various RDBMS software packages.

skyConverter ultimate output is a sequence of SQL statements that recreate the source database in the target RDBMS format.

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skyFile

skyFiles is a web-based file storage and file archiving system that lets a user store files in the shared space of a "community computer." This means that the files are accessible (with appropriate permissions) from any computer with a web browser.

skyFiles is similar to free web-based storage services, but skyFiles are kept securely on your organization's server and you don't have to look at the advertising that supports the "free" web service.

You can download a skyFile to work on it at home, upload it when finished (probably to a new version), then access it again from work the next day.

Version control is especially valuable if multiple users are working on the same file. You can download the current version, or search the archive for an earlier version.

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skyForm

skyForms is a database-backed web forms generator program. A skyForm can be timeLined to appear on the web at a specific data and time. Forms results can appear on dynamic web pages, cumulating at the same time as entry or after the entry forms expire (e.g., voting).

Ballots (secret or public), Tests, Quizzes, Questionnaires, Registration/Applications and many other forms can be created question by question.

Questions have weights, as do answers, for automatic grading. Tests may be proctored, with proctor login at the beginning and end of the test to assure the identity of the test taker.

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skyLight

skyLight is our name for a hand-crafted web page that provides a new "skin" for one of our standard interface pages. Many times an end-user needs to be shielded from the full power of timeLines. A skyLight page can provide a special limited view into the functionality of timeLines.

skyLights are easy to implement by generating the appropriate skyLinks or skyRockets to the functions desired on the skyLight page.

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skyLingo

skyLingo is our multi-lingual database of web-related terms, needed to convert the timeLines interface to run in many languages and many countries.

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skyLink

Once pasted into an HTML page, a skyLink takes a user directly inside timeLines (in a "read-only" mode") without requiring any login and password.

A skyLink is generated from the timeLines window you want a guest to be able to link to directly. For example, you can navigate to a particular Event Series. When you have the timeLines window looking just right, you click on "skyLink," and a window opens with the exact HTML and query string that must be pasted into another page to provide a skyLink.

You can test the new skyLink to verify that it gives exactly the right result. You may want to readjust time scale for example. Normally, a skyLink goes to the current date and time, but you may optionally set the exact date and time for a skyLink.

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skyPage

skyPages are skyBuilders timeLined (scheduled) web pages. They can be created and edited in advance, by contributing writers and editors working from any browser using our web-based skyWriter editing tool.

timeLined pages appear on the web at the date and time you schedule them. They make your web site more dynamic, without demanding your presence at the moment the new page appears. skyPages can be automatically generated to appear at regularly scheduled times. Newly generated pages are clones of the previous page, so if you fail to edit the new page, the web site continues to play the earlier version.

Series of skyPages are collected into persistent archives, so that users can save a permanent bookmark for an important page. timeLined skyPage archive technology lies behind our skyFiles version control system.

A series of timeLined skyPages can be converted instantly to a timed skyTalk presentation.

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skyTalk

skyTalk is skyBuilders presentation software. Any timeLined skyPage series can become a presentation on the web, served from the shared space of a "community computer."

Each timeLined web page appears in a frame, with a set of navigation controls across the top, and information displays (time readouts) across the bottom. You may optionally arrange both of these at the top or at the bottom, or even hide these controls and operate the presentation from the keyboard.

skyTalk gives you all the timing information you need to fit your presentation into your available time. You can see at a glance the time remaining. If you are running late, a click or two on the watch icon speeds up each page, and the time remaining is adjusted down. If you get ahead of your self, a click on the hourglass icon will lengthen the remaining time to fit the schedule.

In rehearsal mode, each page waits for your manual advance, and then sets that time as the playing time for the page.

In editing mode, you get a list of all the pages and their playing times. You can rearrange the pages, interpolate or delete pages, and separately edit the playing time for each page.

Any series of timeLined skyPages can be converted instantly to a skyTalk.

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skyPortal

Through a skyPortal an organization's insiders and outsiders can access vital information with multi-level permissioning. The skyPortal gives you "what you need when you need it" (WYNWYNI).

skyPortal tools generate navigation panels with sophisticated javascript rollovers for the main portal (home page) of an organization, and multiple portals or "microsites" that provide unique views of parts of the organization.

skyPortal navigation panels generate code for all 4.0 level browsers and beyond.

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skyPorter

skyPorter is a skyTool for converting a serverPage from one server-side programming language to another, e.g., from ASP/VBScript to JSP, PHP, or Perl.

skyPorter requires that the serverPage conform to the skyBuilders API to facilitate automatic conversion of the server-side code, while leaving intact the client-side builderPage code and any Dynamic HTML.

skyPorter will probably work for general code conversion, but some hand-recoding of the results will be necessary.

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skyRocket

Once pasted into an HTML page, a skyRocket takes a user directly inside of timeLines to a particular module and context. A skyRocket allows the user to make changes inside timeLines (depending on permissions, of course), so it asks for a user name and password to check the user's privileges.

A skyRocket is generated by navigating in timeLines to the Module and Context you want a guest to be able to link to directly. You can drill down into the precise page, then optionally set an exact date and time for the skyRocket, or simply access the page with the current date and time.

Both skyLinks and skyRockets can become a part of simple web page designs (skyLights) that provide new views into timeLines and its backend database.

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  skyServer

A skyServer is a skyBuilders timeLines server running at a web hosting data center or stand alone at your organization. skyBuilders can deliver a turnkey skyServer in our custom-built skyBox, fully-configured and provisioned with your organizations' domain names and IP addresses.

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  skyWare

skyWare is database-backed web application software (or "webWare") written by skyBuilders or by third parties that works with the skyBuilders API and ODBM open database model.

skyWare runs partly on the browser and partly on the web application server. It keeps its information in a relational database that runs behind the web application server.

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skyWriter

skyWriter has multiple definitions.

First, skyWriter is our web-based editor that lets you edit skyPages from any browser and schedule them to play on the web at any future time. If you have editing privileges when you access a skyPage, a link under the pArc hive icon at the bottom of the page lets you skyWrite the page. skyWriter also gives you access to the Master Archive so you can edit all the versions of the page.

A skyWriter is a programmer who wants to write timeLines serverPages but does not want to sell timeLines to end users, so is not a full skyBuilder developer. skyWriters work for programming fees and royalties only, not for sales commissions.

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timeLine

skyBuilders use timeLine as a verb to describe the process of scheduling things like web pages and events. We say you can "timeLine your web pages," and "put your organization on a timeLine."

The term comes from digital audio and video editing software. Macromedia also has a timeLine for its Director animations. The basic thing about a timeLine is a control to allow you to move in time - to the future and the past. Another "zoom" control should let you expand the timeLine to show smaller increments of time, or contract it to show a larger time increment.

skyBuilders timeTravel control provides these four capabilities with three level settings.

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timeTraveller or timeTravel controller

The timeTraveller is a powerful tool to navigate through your organization's database information in time. It works with the Calendar, which lets you navigate to a selected date.

The timeTravel controller is a sophisticated piece of JavaScript that jumps the timeLines interface to different times, and also lets you expand the display to include more time or shrink it to examine events at a very fine time scale.

Right arrows click into the future. Left arrows move you to the past. Inner arrows take a small step; outer arrows take the largest step in time

If you get lost in time, click in the middle of the control to return to the current date and time.

Up arrows zoom you out, increasing the time scale(the amount of time in each interval of your TimeLines). If you zoom out too far, many events will appear in your table cells, making the page tall.

Down arrows zoom you in. If your time scale gets too small, there may be many empty table cells.

The current time scale is displayed next to timeTraveller.

As you move the mouse over the timeTraveller arrows, this display changes to show you the time you will move to when you click left or right arrows, and the time scale you will go to if you press the up or down arrows.

Click in the corners of the timeTraveller for more Help.

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User-built

User-built describes a most valuable aspect of skyBuilders timeLines, namely that data for a user can be entered and maintaned by that user, with appropriate minimal oversight by administrators. Since the user has a strong interest in keeping that data current and correct, having the user maintain the data reduces the cost of data base administration and maintenance.

A user-built site can grow on-line very quickly using skyForms, and without the errors associated with paper forms that must be keyed in by data entry specialists.

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Virtual Platform

A computer platform is a combination of hardware and an operating system, like the Macintosh, an Intel PC running Windows, or a Sun computer running Unix. Various computer languages run on a given platform, from the lowest-level native machine language, through assembly languages and compiled languages like C and C++, to today's fourth-generation interpreted and scripting languages, like Java and JavaScript.

A platform always has an input-output system (BIOS) and user interface (UI), a system bus, central processing logic, and data storage, volatile RAM and longer term storage like hard disks. All disk operating systems offer file management - directories/folders, etc.

theSky is a virtual platform whose hardware is the connected computers of the Internet. Its BIOS is the web browser. Its bus is implemented via TCP/IP, which moves data from the browser to the web server, where a web application runs on the server hardware. theSky is a multiprocessor computer, using the CPUs and short-term memory of both the browser computer and the server computer. theSky long-term data storage is a combination of relational database management system (RDBMS) and the web server files. Its file management system is implemented as a directory tree structure in the browser called skyFinder.

Software for theSky, partitioned between the browser and server, is called webWare. When it uses our open relational database model (ODBM), we call it skyWare.

theSky data storage takes advantage of ODBM and the standard SQL query language. It stores data as entities and attributes, human-readable text strings and numbers, very-high-level structures compared to the bits and bytes of a PC.

theSky user interface is built from today's browser tools (HTML, JavaScript, Java, XML, Flash, etc.), limited compared to the graphical interface of today's powerful PCs, but capable enough to support a large number of applications. And a large number of browsers can be connected simultaneously to a skyServer.

This combination of multiple browsers and the scalability of the RDBMS makes theSky virtual platform a multi-user computer system, not a personal computer. We call it a community computer. It is not a PC, but a CC.

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Web-based software or "webWare"

"Web-based" software or "webWare" usually describes software that runs distributed between the browser and the web application server. This webWare runs entirely in "virtual machines" and is generally in a scripting language, like JavaScript or VB Script, or an interpreted language like Java. The virtual machine allows it to execute on the particular hardware platform.

Distributing or "partitioning" the webWare between the browser and the web application server optimizes performance across the network connection.

Web-based software is said to be "abstracted" from the particular hardware or operating system on which it is running. As long as an OS provides high-quality virtual machines and implements the standard Internet protocols, and as long as the browser supports the scripting languages, then webWare will run properly on this distributed "virtual platform" that we call theSky. When the webWare is a "three-tier" system working with a relational database backend conforming to our open database model (ODBM) and the skyBuilders programming API, we call it skyWare.

Some of the major webWare applications are e-commerce sites, email-based groupware, calendar/scheduling services, web publishing, web file sharing, as well as huge enterprise information systems which are all being web enabled. skyBuilders has a couple of dozen more applications in the design pipeline, some of which are conventional desktop applications, like accounting.

Web Publishing

"Web Publishing" is also known as Content Management or Knowledge Management. Major features include scheduling content onto the web, searching all page files, infinite undo and backups, and archiving all pages to preserve institutional memory. Documents need not be HTML web pages, but today the majority of documents in a web-based publishing system are in HTML or XML formats.

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