|Nooron Software and knowledge evolving to meet human needs.|
|you are here: http://pynooron.dev.semandra.com / know / nooron_faq|
An FAQ about Nooron, what it is and how to use it.U00100
Q: What is Nooron?
A: I finally got really annoyed with how hard it is for people to think clearly together. So I decided to [try to] solve the problem once and for all [cue mad-scientist-music] by creating an online digital ecosystem in which knowledge, logic and presentation can all evolve in a globe-spanning, self-organizing, peer to peer system of web servers which is simultaneously the handiest, most flexible piece of software everybody[!] uses and also the software substrate for an emergent global collective intelligence. Take your pick. See How to Build a Global Brain for an expanded form of this vision. [Best keep the mad-scientist-music playing though.] The somewhat more sober Nooron White Paper covers the motivation for Nooron rather well, but is otherwise quite out of date.
Q: I don't give a hoot about all this global brain stuff. I just need a ...
A: OK, OK, lets skip the big picture for the moment. How about if we just look at the handy stuff that Nooron does right now.
Q: What other, concrete, features will it have by version 1.0.0?
A: See The Nooron Pattern Language for the whole conceptual tour, but you asked for a concrete answer.
Q: Nooron is still very alpha, though, isn't it?
A: Oh, so alpha!
Q: What are some immediate next steps?
A: The things which will be done to Nooron ASAP are:
Q: What are the 'available garments' listed over at the right?
A: Garments are the different appearances, disguises, what-have-you that the currently displayed frame can 'wear'. What you see at the left is a tree containing links to the different views (garments) which are available for the object (frame) being viewed. They are organized, first
Q: How are the 'available garments' implemented?
A: Each of these garments is implemented as a NooronPageTemplate or NPT. They are an adaptation of Zope Page Templates. Each different thing in Nooron (KBs, classes, individuals, slots or facets) has a different set of NPTs (or garments) available to it. Usually these are inherited from classes and superclasses up to :THING (the root of the OKBC class hierarchy). As shipped, all the attaching of NPTs to classes is going on in knowledge bases which are themselves instances of the nooron_app_wardrobe class. Individuals can also have 'garments' associated directly with them (by making the name of the garment one of the values on the own_slot 'npt_for_self' on the individual in question.)
Q: Why call them 'garments' instead of 'skins'?
A: Well, because in Nooron there might also end up being skins. The term 'skin' is usually used to talk about a large-scale cosmetic choice that governs details such as the colors, positions and sizes of onscreen elements. There is room for Nooron to have skins too, but nothing has been done to implement that yet. The template standard_master can be thought of as the only skin currently available for Nooron. It is responsible for placing and formatting all the html screens you see when surfing a stock Nooron instance. A future direction is for programmatic selection of standard_master or some alternative skin to occur at the top of each skin. Probably the thing to do would be to rejigger standard_master so it takes responsibility for implementing the selection of a skin. Nothing stands in the way of current Nooron site operators modifying standard_master in any way they choose, including getting it to swap skins based on knowledge or cookies or something.
Q: When I surf around under
A: These are 'deep' links into the beautifully constructed OKBC Spec 2.03 at SRI. Since PyOKBC aims to be a faithful implementation of the OKBC Spec, the spec serves as documentation for it.
Q: What is a frame?
A: The term 'frame' comes from the Knowledge Representation tradition in the AI community. The term was coined by Minsky and means a data structure, capable of representing nearly anything, which has slots on it and which exists inside a knowledgebase. If you are going to use Nooron at this stage in its development you will need to understand the OKBC Knowledge Model.
Q: What is an ontology?
A: An ontology is a set of formal definitions of concepts and things in some domain. These machine-understandable artifacts can range in scope from narrow to universal. The Yahoo and Open Directory project's hierarchies are often mentioned as examples of ontologies, but are more properly called taxonomies because they are mostly just hierarchic classifications rather than having enough structural sophistication to provide a basis for inferences about their contents. There are several efforts to create universal ontologies, e.g. http://suo.ieee.org/http://www.opencyc.org/
Q: What are .pykb files?
A: Hopefully, soon to be replaced. They are the only file format supported by PyOKBC 0.1.1 (the release which was bundled with Nooron 0.2.0). As a shortcut (to avoid having to write a parser) .pykb files are simply files full of python calls to the PyOKBC API. This business about executing .pykb files full of python code has a number of consequences which means that they should soon be replaced by a more conventional file format. Remember, this is Alpha code! A more lasting solution will be to support the reading and writing of files filled with OKBC 'sentences'. This ought to suffice as a basic file format for some time and provide an acceptable format for knowledge 'syndication'.
Q: Will a command line version of Nooron be available?
A: A command line interface to Nooron might prove handy, but for most purposes simply fetching an appropriately constructed url from a running Nooron instance will be equivalent to most anything one might want a command line for. This is thanks to the interaction of the two patterns REST and URLsHaveMeaning
Q: How do I make my own pattern_language_app?
A: Put a file called
put_direct_parents(['pattern_language_wardrobe', 'SOMENAME_pattern_language_data']) put_instance_types(current_kb(),['pattern_language_app']) put_frame_pretty_name(current_kb(),"SOMENAME Pattern Language")Put your data in another file called
put_direct_parents(['pattern_language_ontology']) put_instance_types(current_kb(),['nooron_app_data'])followed by
Q: How do I render '.dot' files myself?
A: For the moment glean what you can from http://www.pinkjuice.com/howto/dot.txt
Q: Is it safe to run Nooron? What with all the python in the templates?
A: Umm. Yes. (but no warranty!) Notice that when Nooron starts up there is the line:
Q: Where is some documentation for Zope Page Templates (the basis of Nooron Page Templates)?
A: FrontPage of ZPT ZPT Error Handling Strategies ZPT Examples (and DTML equivalents)
Q: Is there more documentation?
A: Not yet, this is it...
$Id: faqs.html,v 1.2 2003/02/07 23:41:10 smurp Exp $
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