User Guide

Interface Overview

What you see (Screen Layout)

A topic map of the world of modern arts. Topic types are Artist, Artwork, Gallery and Exhibition. This exemplary DeepaMehta application is developed in cooperation with www.artfacts.net. The actual data is accessed on-the-fly from the artfacts.net database. For every topic additional information can be retrieved from the Google search engine.
A topic map of the world of modern arts. Topic types are Artist, Artwork, Gallery and Exhibition. This exemplary DeepaMehta application is developed in cooperation with www.artfacts.net. The actual data is accessed on-the-fly from the artfacts.net database. For every topic additional information can be retrieved from the Google search engine.

On the left: The Overview (Topic Map)

The left side normally shows the so-called topic map. Like a geographic map contains towns connected by roads, a topic map consists of symbols connected by dashes, so-called topics and associations.

  • The term "topic" is not to be taken too literally, this is just everything on the map which is not a dash. A topic is an "informational object", it might represent a "real world object", e.g. an art gallery.
  • An association is the dash between two topics, and it says that the two are somehow associated; it is a semantical relationship between topics.

In DeepaMehta search results are also represented by topics, visualized as a ton.

In DeepaMehta a topic map is always the user's personal sight to the information. The user interactively reveals further information by following associations. Which associations the user follows depends on its current interest. The user is free to arrange topics visually as required by current situation. The size of a topic map is not limited. Topics/Associations which are no longer of interest are simply set out of sight. Topic maps can be published to other user groups.

The content exists independently of how an individual looks at it.

Any topic can be put into relation with any other topic. New topics and associations are transparent to other users.

On the right: Some Details (Property Panel)

The right side always shows "the properties" of the currently selected topic/association. "Properties" means mainly the details, and this can be everything that you don't want to show up as a label on the map. For instance, a generic topic may have a longer "description" in addition to its shorter title or name.

  • The short name is shown on the map, in the spatial context. When you click there, a red border indicates that it is selected.
  • The longer description or other details appear always on the right side. You can switch between overview and detail by simply switching your gaze between various spots on the map, and the fixation point at the right. No pop-up is used, which would disrupt the flow.

Note: The right side is also used for typing in the name.

You will soon get used to looking at the right side after manipulating the graphical objects on the left. There are no animations directing one's gaze as known from traditional application. Self-directed eye-movement without any distractions is the most efficient control.


What you can do (Interface Elements)

Right-Click the Map Background

For items to show up on the empty background, just right-click where you want to create topics or search for them. To see a menu of all possible operations, right click the topic maps background.

7 basic operations can by applied to an open topic map:

Search
Search all topics with a specified type
Create
Create a new topic with a specified type (choose "Topic" if you don't want to think about types)
Hide all
Hides all topics with a specified type
Close
Close the topicmap
Publish to
Publish the topic map to a specified workspace
Export
Export the topic map to either XML, SVG or PDF.
What is a ...?
Explain the topic map's type

Depending on the topic map's type more specific operations may be available.


Right-Click a Topic

To see a menu of all possible operations, right click the topic.

6 basic operations can by applied to any topic:

What's related?
Reveals associated topics
Hide
Sets the topic out of sight
Retype
Change the topic's type
Delete
Delete the topic permanently
Google ...
Search more about the topic
What is a ...?
Explain the topic's type


Depending on the topic's type more specific operations may be available, e.g. a received "Email" topic provides a "Reply" operation.

Right-Click an Association

To see a menu of all possible operations, right click the association.

4 basic operations can by applied to any association:

Hide
Sets the association out of sight
Retype
Change the association's type
Delete
Delete the association permanently
What is a ...?
Explain the association's type

Depending on the association's type more specific operations may be available.

Jump elsewhere (Topic Map Selector)

In any situation several topic maps are open, but only one is displayed. In order to determine which one is displayed use the Topic Map Selector. Use the back and forward buttons to step in the history of recently displayed topic maps.

3 types of topic maps appear in the Topic Map Selector

The Personal Workspace: the privacy of the logged in user. This is the only place where the user creates new topic maps. In order to make a topic map accessible by other users, it can be published to a shared workspace. The Personal Workspace is always named according to the user's (login) name.

All the Shared Workspaces the user is a member of. A Shared Workspace is a repository for topic maps which are supposed to be accessed by several users. When a user opens a topic map from a Shared Workspace, DeepaMehta places a working copy of the topic map in the user's Personal Workspace.

All Topic Maps opened.
Note: a workspace itself can be regarded as a topic map. A workspace actually serves as a repository for other topic maps.


(Left) Click anywhere

Left-Clicking has already been mentioned above: It selects whose properties are displayed aat the right side.

  • To see the properties of a certain topic, click on it. The properties are displayed at the right side.
  • To see the properties of a certain association, click on it. The properties are displayed at the right side. Every association has 3 basic properties: "Name", "Description" and "Ordinal Number". If further properties exist depends on the association's type, e.g. a "Relation" adds a "Cardinality" property.
  • To see the properties of the topic map itself, click on its background. The properties are displayed at the right side. Every topic map has 5 basic properties: "Name", "Description", "Icon", "Background Image" and "Background Color". If further properties exist depends on the topic map's type.

Note: To perform the topic's default operation double click it. E.g. a "Topic Map" topic is opened when double clicked.

Dragging is explained below (move).

Basic Operations

Creating Content

Create a Topic Map

If you don't have data in import format, you first need to do some rarely needed steps: New topic maps are always created in the Personal Workspace.

  1. Find the dropdown arrow of the Topic Map Selector in the upper left
  2. Select the Personal Workspace (yellow figure icon)
  3. Choose "Create Topic Map" from the Topic Map Context Menu (Right-click)
  4. Enter a name for the topic map (optional)
  5. Open the topic map by double clicking it

Create a Topic

Right-click on the background, select "Create", select "Topic" or choose a particular type. And then turn to the right side (see next section) to name it.

Fill in Content in the Property Panel

Always look on the (b)right side after you clicked something. For a new item, its name is entered here. Once you hit Enter, the name appears on the map. Re-naming is done the same way. Entering longer texts into description fields, or entering search strings into the search field, toggling radio buttons, or copying and pasting HTML contents - all is done that way.

You just have to unlearn the traditional mess of mode switching between graphics and text, renaming, saving, escape, and the like. Just learn to turn at the right side if unsure how to do it on the left side.

Note: If you work for a longer time in the property panel just make sure that you sometimes click something on the left side. This is good for securing your work in the corporate memory, at least if you are working with a client connected to a remote server.

Create an Association

So, how to create an arbitrary association?

=> Click the origin topic while holding the alt-key and drag the mouse to the target topic.

Note 1: if you use Linux/KDE try the strg-key or shift-strg or strg-alt-tab instead of the alt-key, because the alt-key is consumed by the KDE desktop (and yields to moving the whole window). If you have a 3-button mouse try also the middle mouse botton as an alternative to the alt-key.

Note 2: associations can only be created inside topic maps (eye-icon) and not inside the personal workspace (person-icon) or the shared workspaces (group of persons-icon).

Generally you can create an association between any two topics. You can retype the association to any type you like. One question arises immediately: which associations are controling the inner functions of DeepaMehta and which ones are of interest only for the human? This question has no simple answer and must be answered in regard of DeepaMehta's functional areas.

The upcoming user guide will contain chapters like

- How to work together in shared workspaces? (the users & groups approach)

- How to integrate classic applications? (MIME-Configuration)

- How to define your own topic and association types? (the type system)

Revealing Content

(get hidden topics and associations out of the corporate memory)

First of all: all topics and associations exist independently of topic maps and are stored centrally in the corporate memory (CM). Topic maps are personalized views of extracts of the CM. Virtually every topic can be made visible in every topic map.

Generally there are 2 approaches to retrieve topics from the CM and make them visible inside the current topic map:

  • What's related? (Navigate/ browse through the stored contents)
  • Search (using strings)

Navigate

Every topic provides the "What's related?" command (right-click the topic) to reveal associated topics along with their associations. The submenu lists all associated topics, compiled by both, their topic types as well as the association types.

  • If there are no more than 7 associated topics of the choosen type, the topics and their associations are revealed immediately after your choice.
  • If the result comprises more than 7 topics it is represented as a ton. With the "Show Result" command you can select directly one out of max. 100 results.

"What's related?" navigates through the CM alongside the associations. According to your situation: use this command if an associated topic of the topic in question is already visible inside the topic map.

Search

Topic maps provide the "Search" command (right-click on the map background) to search the whole CM for topics of a specific type. The submenu lists all topic types you have access to. The search result is presented as a ton.

  • If the search result comprises no more than 7 topics the topics are revealed immediately.
  • If the ton contains no more than 100 topics you can reveal single topics by using the tons "Show Result" command.
  • In any case the topics inside a ton can be filtered by name. Enter a term in the "Search" field of the ton (this is in the property panel at the right, and looks unusually large) and press enter. The filtered result set is represented as a ton again.

A ton represents a topic search and its result set.

Note: search tons are 'live'. To retrigger the stored query for a ton doubleclick it.

Controlling the Display

Move Topics

Guess how: just drag them, holding the left mouse-button down.

Hide Topics/Associations

See above "Right-click" and choose "hide" from the pop-up context-menu. (Sometimes, "Remove" works similarly. But "Delete" is different and dangerous!)

Move Topic Map

Once your map grows larger you won't need scroll bars. Simply left-click an empty spot on the background and drag the entire canvas (this works like the hand tool in Acrobat). If some shapes stay stagnant you have hit an association rather than an empty spot, and thus you have moved a cluster (see next section).

Move clusters

By grasping and dragging an association, you can move all the connected topics and associations at once.

Import/Export of Topic Maps

Import

  • Expand the dropdown list in the upper left to switch from DeepaMehta to root (yellow)
  • Right-click the beige background of the map and select "Import Topic Map...",
  • A file selector window pops up where you can navigate to the downloaded zip file and select it.
(For Windows users, it looks a little unfamiliar because more horizontal scrolling is needed and the folders are not yellow, so you might want to switch to the details view using the rightmost button. The house icon leads you to the familiar Desktop folder.)
  • After a while, the activity in the black command prompt window (opened by the run command) should stop, and in the upper left corner on the topic map.
(This is possibly almost hidden by the “<” button) a new map icon should appear. (If you are re-using a map name for the second time, the imported map's icon can also be hidden under the existing icon).
  • Now you can double-click the new map.

A list of ready-to-use demo importfiles will probably go here.

Export

  • Just Right-click a map's background and select "Export" (unless you need the special formats of PDF or SVG which are cannot be further processed or imported);
  • After the message icon (next to the Context Selector) and a tweety sound indicate completion, find the file under (your DeepaMehta home) > Install > Client > Documents.

(If you work in a shared server environment like the demo server, it does not work, at least not as described here).


Build your own Types

Create Topic Types/Association Types

Define Properties

Properties compose topic and association types. Properties have visualization modes and each of them is used to visualize fields within the e.g. Property Panel or Web Form. If the visualization mode name starts with "Option...." you have to create some Property Values using the respective command for this, by clicking on a property and select "Create Property Value". The default value has to be the name of one of these (matching string).

Since properties are belonging to topic types, don`t forget to "Update" on the modified topic type to see the changes on all instances. The data of former properties which were removed from types is not deleted and can be revealed later by just adding the property with the same name to the type again.

Derive Types from existing ones

The easiest example is to create a variant of the Generic Topic type, just with another color. Let's make it red and provide it for a sort-of "town" on the map, i. e. a center within a cluster, and call it "Major Node".

To create such a topic type, recall that even types are topics (on a meta level). They are administered via meta topic maps. Therefore,

  • navigate to "Users and Groups" and notice the "workspaces" associated to your user: "Administration", "Type Builder", and "Deepamehta". While the former two are very "meta" (see below), the latter contains useful "built-in" things.
  • Then right-click "DeepaMehta", point to "What's related?", and click "Topic Types". A ton symbol for the search results appears, showing 11 built-in items.
  • Right-Click the ton, and from "Show Results", select "Topic". The Topic icon appears, connected both to the Workspace and to the search ton. You may then remove the ton.
  • Now right-click this icon, and select "Create subtype".
  • fill in the name(s),
  • click "Choose" in the Color row and select from the palette.
  • Right-click the icon and select "Update" to see it taking on the new color and shape.

If you use other types than the Generic Type for your new subtype, you will find the associated workspace as follows.

  • the "Administration" workspace contains installation-related types, such as
    • users and their collaboration (Message Board, Message, Chat Board, Chat, Whois),
    • various format indications (Document Type, Mime Type, Export Format, Application),
    • and the Installation itself (very "meta");
  • the topic types in the "Type Builder" workspace are even more "meta": (Note that it is not possible to derive subtypes from these types)
    • the types of the types (i. e., Topic Type, and Association Type),
    • and the stuff dealing with the attached data (Property, Property Value, and Data Source);
  • the built-in things in the "Deepamehta" include much of
    • what you need when you want to entirely switch your desktop to DeepaMehta: Document, Email, Appointment, Event, Calendar, Person, Institution, Webpage, as well as
    • basic things that control the inner function of DeepaMehta: Topic, Topic Map, and Workspace.

Some of these really should not be deleted, while others are probably never needed when you don't use the desktop or collaboration affordances. Note that "workspace" is not only used for its members' collaboration, so don't delete it.

Setting Types into Relation

Suppose you wanted to tag your topics. In this case you might profit from the feature being described here. You would be using a new type called "Tag", and relate it to the existing "Topic" topic type. You would proceed as follows.

  1. Create the new "Tag" topic type
    • Open or create an auxiliary topicmap,
    • Right-click the empty backdrop canvas, point to Create, point to Type Builder, and select Topic Type. A grey ball appears;
    • Fill in the Name, in this case, "Tag";
    • Choose a color, perhaps some saturated red, and press OK;
    • Right-click the grey new topic type and click "Update". It should change its color.
    • Now you will find the the new type among the "Create" choices. Create some, for example session track titles from SemTech2008 such as "Semantic Web", "Semantic Case Studies and Web 3.0", "Collaboration and Social Networks", and "Financial";
  2. Reveal the "Topic" topic type
    • Right-click the background, point to Search, point to Type Builder, then click Topic Types. A search results ton will appear. * Right-click this ton and click Search Results (if this is greyed-out refer to the Search section, 3rd bullet, to learn how to deal with more than 100 results);
    • Scroll down in the alphabetic list to the generic "Topic" (if scrolling does not work under Windows you might have to temporarily disable the "Lock the task bar" setting);
    • Once you revealed the "Topic" topic type you may Remove the search ton;
  3. Create a relation between "Topic" and "Tag"
    • Now draw an association from the Topic topic type to the new "Tag" topic type. Initially this association is a grey, generic one;
    • Right-click this association, point to "Retype", point to "Type Builder", then click "Relation". The property panel will now show additional settings. For our example of tags, select Cardinality > many such that you may assign more than one tag later.
    • Right-click the "Topic" topic type and click "Update".
  4. Try it out
    Now you can go back from the auxiliary topicmap to some payload map and use the new type:
    • right-click a topic, for example a session title of SemTech2008 such as "722 Freebase for Open, Community Driven Data"
    • point to the Assign action choice, here: "Assign tag", and a list of tag names including check boxes and the option to Create an new tag will appear.

Retype Topics/Associations

We just used the "Retype" command for an association (see the screenshot and click path description above). The same is available for topics, albeit less important because you can always specify the desired type at topic creation time.

Configure the Search- and Create-Menus

You may specify the order of the options in the Search- and Create Context Menus.

  • Open or create an auxiliary topicmap,
  • Right-click the background, point to Search, click Workspace.
  • Richt-click the "DeepaMehta" workspace, point to "What's related?", then cick "Type Access";
  • Right-click the search ton "Topic Types", point to "Show results", and click one topic type whose menu position you want to change;
  • click the turquoise "Type Access" association line,
  • Fill in a different "Ordinal number" in the property panel at the right.
  • You may need to look up or/and change the ordinal numbers of other topic types.

The same procedure applies to the submenus of the other workspaces. Whether a workspace's topic types appear in a submenu or in the main menu is determined by the setting of the Default workspace, see below.


Some Modelling Hints

With the above example (conference sessions and tracks) you could follow three different modelling approaches:

  • use just generic topics and associations (see flash animation and import map)
  • create a new type "Tag" for the tracks (see screenshots above),
  • create a new type for the sessions and individual property values for each track name.

The three alternatives are shown (from left to right) in the next image, both the model (upper screenshot) and some content below.

From left to right, the complexity of the model increases while the flexibility and visual complexity of the content decreases:

  • with generic items you can express even vague concepts as indicated by the "cluster" that is something in between a single session and a formal track; all relational work is done by drawing associations and can be spatially visualized;
  • with a new tag, the "assign" operation is probably done via the string-based menu rather than drawing lines; additionally there are color distinctions possible but they are tied to semantic meaning rather than highlighting and vague grouping;
  • with property values, the content work is entirely shifted from the visual left pane to the string-based drop-down lists in the property panel. Note that multivalued properties are no longer included.

This might suggest a very rough distinction of two major usage scenarios:

  • one is more semantically fixed, adapted to specific knowledge domains, storing definite, rule-based, factual, often hierarchical knowledge,
  • the other one is more visual, flexible, catering for vague or emerging network patterns or "connective knowledge" (while still offering the full-text details on the right pane).

Another criterion is, however, whether the designer of the model is also the user him/herself or not. In the latter case, too generic or vague or abstract concepts tend to become a problem, while concise, domain-specific terms and clear templates would facilitate to fill in information.

Yet another consideration is the import of existent data. If you have to copy and paste or even type all the contents you are probably more willing to use a complex model. If, on the other hand, data is available from uniform types of, say, heading texts and full-texts, you probably would not bother too much distinguishing them more than necessary. The residual problem of marking and grouping by colors and line type may then temporarily be solved by retyping.


Working Collaboratively

Before you can decide to share your items, you probably need to develop a sense of what is private and what is not.

This applies only to editing, changing, creating, deleting, and the like, since viewing is always granted in this very collaborative environment.

(If you wonder how viewing other people's stuff works:
  • Right-click > Search > Topic maps. A ton icon with results will appear;
  • Right-click > Show results, and select the other user's map carrying his/her name,
  • double-click this one and their new topicmap, and you will see its contents.)

Changing things works differently for stored contents and map views:

  • Stored contents, i. e. topics and associations, are edited immediately, because they don't exist as copies. If your user account has the "Editor" role for the DeepaMehta membership, you may directly alter the contents of all users. Normal members can change only the topics and associations that they created themselves.
  • For map views, the normal collaboration works via copies. If a user wants to share their topicmap they may publish it (see extra section).
Note that it is possible (while probably objectionable) to directly alter the visual shape of someone else's map (i. e., the representations of conceptional proximity by spatial arrangement/ coordinates and of context by show/ hide status). This is not to be confused with changing stored contents based on the editor role.

So, how can one keep an overview of what is one's own stuff? All privately owned maps and copies are shown in the personal workspace (there is no hide command here).

(The Topic Selector seems to do a better job as such a central directory and springboard for our maps, but is is slightly differently delineated: It lists all maps that you opened and did not explicitly Rightclick > Close.
Since for some maps (such as those associated with shared and personal workspaces) it is currently not possible (yet) to close them, you need a trick. Create a meta map for exploring the structure. Rightclick > Search for the topicmap in question. Use "What's related?" > "User(s)" to determine the "View in use" associations. Then delete the annoying ones, or have the root user do that.)

So you keep your overview via your personal workspace, and it is advisable to tidy up all unwanted copies. Make sure that you don't accidentally delete your own unpublished maps, which may happen since it is not possible to identify an original map unless there are copies existing (then, the copies have a blue "Derivation" association with the originals, and a purple "Publishing" association with the respective shared workspace).


Establishing Shared Workspaces

The creation of a new workspace is simple: just right-click the background, point to Create, click "Workspace", and fill in a name. A workspace contains users and topic types. To establish a new workspace it is a good practice to give it a meaningful description.

A topic type is added to a workspace by drawing an association line from the workspace to the topic type and subsequently retyping it to Administration > Type Access. The user won't see it in their Create context menu unless you change its "View" only Access permission in the Property Panel on the right. The workspace's creatable topic types appear in a submenu of the create context-menu (and also in the search context menu, for that matter) unless you respecify it for a user via "Set Standard Workspace" in the context-menu for that user.

The creating root user is automatically associated with the new workspace by the orange "Membership" association. Others may be added by drawing an association from the user icon to the workspace icon, and subsequently retyping it to Administration > Membership. Users may Join and Leave workspaces, but beware of locking yourself out.

Configure User Roles

A user may have the Editor role on all topics of types accessed from this workspace. This is specified by clicking the orange "Membership" association and activating the corresponding check-box in the property panel. Similarly, the role of a publisher may be specified.

Publishing of Topic Maps

Publishing means that the map is moved from the author's personal workspace to a shared workspace, and everybody can obtain a copy just by doubleclicking. Publishing topic maps in DeepaMehta have the semantics that other users of the shared workspace are notified.

The copies exist independently from the each other and even from the author's own copy. This means that they are not updated automatically. Instead, the author has to re-publish their copy and the users have to obtain another copy (by doubleclicking its name in the shared workspace).

After this, you may want to delete your old copy from the personal workspace if you did not make private changes, or else, rename it meaningfully, because the identically named copies might cause confusion.


The Access Control System

The privacy principles outlined in the beginning of this chapter, are implemented particularly by

  • properties of the Type Access association between topic types and a workspace, and
  • properties of the Membership association between a user and a workspace.

The former inlude "View", "Create", and "Create in Workspace".

The latter specify whether the user has the role of an Editor (who may change everything in the workspace's scope). If s/he is not an editor, s/he may change only their own objects. The ownership is indicated in a property of the Generic Topic and all of its derivative topics, called "Owner ID". This property is hidden by default.

Using Communication Tools

The two communication tools shipped with each workspace, implement the idea of the "Living Topics" where, for instance, the forum postings are individual "message" topics, and threads are just several of them tied together by associations.

Forum

The most basic way to create a forum message is to right-click > Create Message. For more sophisticated integration into a Web Application see the appropriate forthcoming section below.

Chat

Similarly, chats can be initiated by right-clicking, or via more elaborate integration, see below.

Notifications

You can get notification mails from all your shared workspaces of which you are a member, if your user topic has an email address assigned to it and another user publishes a topic map into your shared workspace. These notification mails are an aggregated list of contents from the map and are very helpful if you are currently not logged in to your deepamehta server while the others are working. If you are logged in, you get a direct notification in the message panel besides your topic map selector while deepamehta is playing a birdie sound for you. This represents a newly published topic map from one of your co-workers. To configure this notification mails you can reveal your user icon through workspace topics you are a member of. Through right-clicking on your user topic you can directly configure an assigned email address topic.

Desktop Applications

Handling Projects, Notes, and Ideas

In a typical knowledge worker's environment, there are

  1. various individual files and notes and collections of such documents,
  2. with their size varying from tiny text snippets (ideas) to large papers or multimedia items,
  3. and with the permanent dilemma whether to group them by chronological/ provenience/ project context, or by subject/ knowledge domain categories.

Traditional desktop interfaces offer the concepts of files and folders for (1), different applications for (2), and very little for (3) - see an appendix of this section for possible workarounds and how they come short of DeepaMehta's affordances. The problem with the hierarchical file system is that the world is not a cabinet of drawers, and if the human gives in to the pressure of putting things too early into separate silos, all the connective knowledge is lost.

With the visual interface of the DeepaMehta topicmap it is possible to arrange the individual items into multiple clusters and collections of varying kind - ranging from mere spatial proximity, over interconnected groups within one topicmap, to multiple topicmaps containing different assortments of the items from the overall store.

Thus, the competing organisation structures - by project, by one subject classification, or by another classification - can be simultaneously catered for:

  • Just create new topicmaps as you see fit, or draw new associations among groups of items, or interconnections between the hubs of such groups.
  • Add new topics containing you notes and ideas, or include outside documents (see below for detais).

Similarly, the problem of quick, immediate access to small text snippets (ideas) while preserving their context, may be easily overcome without a special note processing application:

  • put your ideas into the description part of the right side panel, name their icons, and place them close to similar ones, and you can access their texts with one click directly from within their semantic context.

Workarounds made needless

The various attempts to put one file into multiple folders, all have their flip sides: if you create tag collections rather than folders you may not express a general "see also" relationship from an entire group to another. Furthermore, you lose the information about which one of the categories you decided to be the primary one. With unix symlinks, this primary affiliation is still existent but hardly visible. With windows folder shortcuts, you could even mutually cross-reference two folders by manually creating both shortcuts, but the danger of losing a shortcut by moving or renaming the containing folders is annoying.

The visualization of semantic proximity could also be achieved by switching off the "Auto arrange" option of traditional folder windows. But this spatial information is very volatile and can never be transferred, backed up, or restored. Moreover, once you have arranged the items, it is very annoying that there is no way to draw connector lines between them, and you are still urged to use a specialized application for note processing - leaving you other documents, larger notes or non-text files, out of the context. But even the prominent specialized note-taking applications such as MS OneNote do not offer to connect lines that are glued to the items and move with them while rearranging.

As for the immediacy of access to small text notes, a most simple editor application such as Notepad lends itself for using, and in the MS Vista, you may even combine this affordance with the spatial arrangement in the left-hand folder pane, by enabling the right-hand preview pane (see the similarity to longstanding DeepaMehta behavior?). But, there are no connector lines possible like with DeepaMehta.

Maintaining Contacts

The need for rich contact information is common to most workplace scenarios. Therefore, DeepaMehta includes the relevant topic types out-of-the-box:

From the model you see that some pieces of information may be inherited from a superior level to cater for redundancy avoidance as required by database best practices.

Of course, information such as email and web addresses are reused by the corresponding DeepaMehta application integration (see below).

Handling Email

The integrated email application makes use of the various contact data (see above), and a few crucial system administration settings (see below).

The charme is that individual emails can be put into context as flexibly as any other DeepaMehta topic type. That is, not only storing of and linking to single emails but also associating them with one another, and not only linking them hierarchically as in threaded forums, but arbitrarily as seen fit for the respective subject matter.

Searching and Surfing the Web

Once the relevant system settings are correctly set up (see below), it should be possible to seamlessly search the Web for topics mentioned on a topicmap, or use bookmarks that are semantically arranged and connected on your maps.

Imagine a del.icio.us bookmark tagging and sharing, enhanced by spatial visualization! And not only visualization of the trendy kind of dynamic starfield-like flower patterns as in thinkmap/ thinkbase where you cannot keep a sense of orientation, but one with deliberately arranged, stable geometry.

Note that some web integration features require the applet variety of the DeepaMehta rather than the standalone application.

Using Group Calendar

Now having people, locations, and appointments all in place, it is natural to try a group calendar application.

  • Create one by Right-click > Create, as usual,
  • after right-clicking the new Calendar, keep in mind that this application is a powerful and sumptuous one and may not react immediately; if in doubt watch the black command prompt window opened at startup time to verify that the application is nor frozen;
  • then you may assign the sharing persons;
  • the persons, in turn, may be assigned by right-clicking an appointment and clicking Assign Attendee.

For the connection between the (logical) "Person" and the (technical) "User" topic types, there is probably an installation setting necessary (see below <- ?).

Note that there is also a second "Appointment" topic type shipped, and one called "Event", which are not to be confused.

Incorporating Documents

If you want to manage external files from within DeepaMehta, it is easy

  • to get them in: ideally, you can accomplish this by simply drag and drop the onto the map pane. Like published topicmaps (see above), they are copied and not synchronized back.
  • To get them out, you need to know: Like exported maps, the copies are stored in a special folder: (yourDrive)\(yourPath}\deepamehta\install\client\documents .
  • To open them, you need to specify their so called MIME-Type, see next section.

Configure MIME-Types

The familiar file type extensions of proprietary applications and operation systems (such as ".doc") are mapped to neutral denotations such as "application/msword", "text/plain", or "image/jpeg". (These names are called "Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions" or MIME types since they stem from email history.) To configure them for DeepaMehta you need to associate the file type extension, the MIME type, and the actual application path.

  • Navigate to the map "MIME Configuration" (which is, for convenience, located immediately in your personal workspace, in case you did not delete it), and doubleclick it.
  • You will find the most common file type extensions already connected to the appropriate MIME types (by the red "Aggregation" association, don't ask why).
  • Now you need a similar association pointing the same way (right to left) from an application to the MIME type (don't get confused by an error message talking about "assigned", since the Assignment association does not work).
  • Unfortunately, the shown applications are not guaranteed to work in every scenario. Instead you may need to create your own ones even for simple applications such as Notepad and MSpaint:
    • Right-click the background canvas > Create > Administration > Application,
    • then turn to the property panel on the right
    • under "Application", you will find a "Choose..." button. Use this to navigate to the location on you local computer where the application resides, e. g. C:\windows\syste32\notepad.exe .
  • Now draw an association from this application icon to the MIME type icon,
  • right-click the association, point to "Retype" and click "Aggregation".

Now you should be able to open at least a .txt file.


Administration

Create Users

For this activity you need to be the root user. Then

  • navigate to the "Administration" workspace and then to the "Users and Groups" map;
  • (If you temporarlly leave this map, be sure to Close it, or otherwise don't get confused that new copies may be opened where your stuff seems to be lost. These copies may be deleted.)
  • Right-click the background canvas, point to Administration, and click User. A new user topic is created and immediately associated to the default ("DeepaMehta") workspace by the orange Membership connector.
  • Enter a username and a password. (If no access from outside is possible, the password may not be important.) Unlike elsewhere, the password is not typed twice but you can make it visible later if necessary.
  • Optionally, fill in additional properties such as Last Name into the property panel form, but don't expect them to be automatically inherited to or associated with a "Person" topic.
  • Click the orange "Membership" association and see if you want to enable any of the special Role permissions available:
    • "Edit" (that permits Read/ Write access to all topic types accessible via the DeepaMehta workspace, which is almost everything),
    • "Publish", see separate section above.
  • If special rights or/and custom workspaces are to be used, you may need to make additional orange "Membership" associations:
    • if necesssary, reveal the custom workspace (most probably it may be found via "What's related?" from the root user),
    • draw an association from the new user to the desired workspace,
    • right-click > Retype > Administration > Membership,
    • repeat the pemission step above;
  • Once the new user has access to multiple workspaces, you may want to respecify their Standard Workspace (that influences their Create ad Search ontext menus and sub-menus): right-clich the bew user, point to "Select Standard Workspace", and click the appropriate entry. This is called "Standard" and not "Default" since the later term is used for something else, see below.

Setup Mailserver

Proceed as follows:

  • Use the Topic Map Selector to navigate to the "Administration" workspace,
  • then doubleclick the "CorporateWeb Settings" topicmap.
  • In the property panel at the right-hand side, you will find an input field called "SMTP Server".

Use this field to provide the required information.

Setup Google API Key

Proceed as follows:

  • Use the Topic Map Selector to navigate to the "Administration" workspace,
  • then doubleclick the "CorporateWeb Settings" topicmap.
  • In the property panel at the right-hand side, you will find an input field called "Google Key".

Use this field to provide the required information.

Setup Datasources

To use SQL or LDAP datasources, some custom application must be installed. You may want to see the working examples shipped with DeepaMehta. To activate them, proceed as follows:

  • Identify the folder containing the run command file,
  • start a command prompt, for instance the MS DOS prompt via Start > All programs > Accessories > Command prompt
  • navigate to the identified folder, for instance, type "cd " followed by the path noted earlier (to avoid typing errors and use copy and paste, you would have to click on the left of the address line of the folder window until the path notation shows, then copy it using CTRL + C. Then, in the command prompt window, right-click the window icon in the upper left, point to "Edit", and then click "Paste").
  • Type "run install". A dialogue starts which will ask you for each of the available example applications if you want to install them.
  • Enter "y" (yes) for the "Movies" sample application, or/and
  • Enter "y" (yes) for the LDAP sample application.
  • After the "BUILD SUCCESSFUL" message, close the Command Prompt window.
  • Start DeepaMehta again using the normal simple "run" procedure.

To examine and learn from the Datasource topic properties of the working sample, don't navigate to the new workspaces and topicmaps, because these will only show the datasource's contents. Rather,

  • open or create an auxiliary map,
  • right-click > Search > Type Builder > Dara Source,
  • then click the respective source, see below.

Accessing SQL Databases

To see a working sample, navigate to the search results for datasource topic type as explained above.

Click "Movies". The property panel will then show the settings defining the database, such as

  • Database Type (currently available: hsqldb-intern, mysql4, or mysql5) as specified or defaulted in the "run install" dialogue;
  • under "URL", a string specifying the database host, the database name as known at that host, and a character set switch: #db-host/db-name?useUnicode=true (note that "127.0.0.1" is a valid internet address meaning your local computer).
  • userid and password for the database, as specified in the install dialog,
  • and further values as required by te custom application.

If you are deploying an application of your own, you will specify all thsse values when seting up the database.

If you want to get an idea about the tables in the database,

  • reveal the "Movies" workspace,
  • right-click and "Join" it
  • use the topicmap selector to navigate to this workspace
  • find the associated topicmap called "MOvies and Actors" and doubleclick it,
  • rightclick the "Movie" search result ton and reveal some movie title topics
  • use "What's related?" to find the starring actors.

This is hoe DeepaMehta represents a database table of movie titles, a table of actors, and a table of the n:m relationship of starring.

To utilize additional columns in the movies table, the sample application has implemented an additional option "Group by" in the movies' context-menu that implements DeepaMehta search filters by applying a "where" clause in the SQL select statement, restricting the search hit to a certain publication Year, Country, or Genre.

This should give you an idea about how database rows and relations may translate to DeepaMehta topics and associations. The actual implementation, however, requires special code, since there is no generic database connector for simple two column relationships.

Integrate LDAP Respositories

To see a working sample, navigate to the search results for datasource topic type as explained above.

Click "ActiveDirectory (LDAP-Source)". The property panel will then show you the one fundamental property, a long "URL" string specifying all necessary information, such as

  • "ldap://host
  • &login=login
  • &password=password
  • &baseDN=base distinguished name (where to start search)
  • &searchScope=SUBTREE_SCOPE (search subtree rather than single level)

If you want to see more about the content of this LDAP tree, you might try the following:

  • reveal the "LDAP" workspace,
  • right-click and "Join" it
  • use the topicmap selector to navigate to this workspace
  • find the associated topicmap called "ActiveDirectory" and doubleclick it.

Probably you won't see contents since such Active Directories are hardly exposed to the outside of an intranet.

Setup Default Workspace

The Default Workspace determines where a new user will automatically become a member. It will initially serve as the new user's Standard Workspace which, in turn, determines which topic types appear on their Create and Search context submenus rather than on sub-submenus below.

To respecify it, proceed as follows.

  • Navigate to the "Administration" workspace and then to the "Users and Groups" map.
  • If necesssary, reveal any custom workspaces (most probably they may be found via "What's related?" from the root user),
  • Click the current Default workspace ("DeepaMehta")
  • find the checkbox for the Default Workspace in the property panel (it is below the caption "Default" since the next caption "Description" refers to the large input field), and uncheck it,
  • click the desired new Default Workspace
  • find the appropriate checkbox, accordingly,
  • and check it.

Setting System Language

  1. Reveal the "Installation" topic:
    • Open or create an auxiliary topicmap,
    • Right-click the background canvas,
    • point to Search,
    • point to Administration,
    • then click "Installation". A search results ton will appear, with 1 result calle "installation";
    • Remove the search results ton.
  2. Change the setting:
    • Look at the property panel at the right side,
    • find the Option Menu called "Language" that contains the Property value of "English",
    • Click the dropdown arrow to expand the list of available languages,
    • click on a different lannguage,
    • restart the program.