FeBe Introduction


This overview brings you up to date on Udanax's business situation as of 1988, plans for the software, release dates, and how frontend developers fit into the picture.

Since 1979 (till 1995) Udanax.com has been developing the software to implement a full-featured hypertext system as originally envisioned by Ted Nelson in 1960 and since expanded by the Udanax team. This software will provide a powerful, unified system for storing, relating and managing any type of information: text, graphics, multimedia, CAD/CAM drawings, music, numbers. Today, the code already embodies all the basic capabilities necessary for a full-featured hypertext system: links, versions, and support for cooperating users.

In April 1988, Autodesk, Inc. of Sausalito, California, best known for their AutoCAD family of software, acquired a majority interest in Udanax.com and is providing the funding and support needed to complete the first Udanax hypertext product and bring it to market. We have announced late 1989 as our goal for our first product release.

Product Development Plans

The capabilities that we plan to add continue the same themes. A partial list of extensions includes: * more platforms on which Udanax Green runs

* communicating backends sharing documents

* addition of timestamps to better keep track of different versions

* implementation of access control and permissions

* addition of a historical trace which contains the edit history and version history of documents.
Developers and Frontends

In the context of the Udanax Green system, the backend handles storage, retrieval, versioning, linking and editing of data with no knowledge about the nature of the data being handled. The backend never interacts directly with the user; there is always a frontend handling the FeBe Protocol.

In contrast to the backend, frontends are advanced application packages that: * interact with users

* interface to input and output devices

* interpret the stored data as text, pictures or music

* format the data for display

* incorporate numeric manipulations or other operations to be worked on data

* are specialized to serve particular market needs

* create, implement and manage the metaphors for working in hypertext and hypermedia environments.
Frontends will be primarily produced by third party developers. Udanax.com does plan to produce at least one general purpose frontend exemplar that demonstrates wide usage of hypertext features, and explores some of the new capabilities now possible. This frontend will serve as a guide for software developers, and ensure that a piece of generalized hypertext software is available for the first product release date. Udanax.com does not intend to compete with third party developers. Udanax.com will cooperate with and assist its third party frontend developers.

With the backend's universal ability to handle any type of input and any size document network, Udanax Green can be fitted to a wide range of applications in all market segments. In thinking about hypertext issues, we have identified six areas which, because of their inherent information complexity and the established presence of computer technology, are strong candidates for early frontend applications: 1. CASE (Computer-Aided Software Engineering) Software development and maintenance

A software development and maintenance product could use the Udanax backend to handle documentation, and manage both source and object code, while the frontend would offer local capabilities for compiling, executing and debugging programs.

2. CAD/CAM/CAE and Engineering Project Documentation Management

The Udanax backend allows precise control over the growth of versions and variations in documents and diagrams. Customized and up-to-the-minute system descriptions can be developed more reliably, more quickly, and less expensively.

3. Document Library Storage and Retrieval (research groups, legal, etc.)

Procedure manuals, policy manuals and catalogs can be annotated for both public and private use. The rich interconnection of different sections of documents allows the occasional user to swiftly find relevant items; the annotations allow the refinement of understanding achieved with experience to propagate throughout the organization at great speed. The result is a swifter evolution of the organization's policies and procedures, and swifter adaptation to changing tools, capabilities, and situations.

4. Office Automation and Intra-Organizational Communications Systems

Most people work in groups, and the projects they work on are increasingly complex. Udanax hypertext makes possible group thinking, planning and writing. In one example, multiple people commonly work on single documents and wonder who made what change to the current draft. A single project produces multiple documents, all of which must be kept consistent: specifications, documentation, product announcement. The complexity cascades as the change of a single number or word must be traced out into every other document and corrected. Hypertext embodies the operations necessary to trace sources, track versions, attribute revisions, and ensure consistency during the process.

5. Management of Data in Complex Formats (e.g., cartographic or geographic data)

Research institutes often have a variety of complex data, all in non-standard formats. For a cartographic group this might include soil sample lab tests, seismic charts, LANDSAT and SPOT photos, artists' sketches, field reports, historical records. Only hypertext can create a database for the management of complex format data of this sort.

6. Computer Aided Instruction

The blending of multiple media - text, graphics, animation and video - allows the construction of educational material that holds the reader's interest. The rich linking of training modules gives the reader the ability to browse the material, focusing on those sections relevant to his curiosity at any moment, giving him a level of control over the order of presentation previously impossible.
This may only scratch the surface of current market opportunities. We are looking forward to being surprised and impressed by the variety, inventiveness and elegance of applications created by frontend developers.

We are interested in encouraging qualified software developers, and in exploring a variety of possible relationships regarding both software development and marketing.