]> Argo: user commands per mode

Argo: user commands per mode

Argo can deal with relations between nodes beyond what is provided by the internal (contextual or clink) links. There are two such relations: hierarchical and linear. In hierarchical relations, nodes have zero or one parent, zero or more children and therefore also zero or more sisters. Children are ordered, but it is possible to go from the parent to any of the children and from the children back to the parent.

In linear relations, a node has at most one predecessor and at most one successor. You can go one node forward or backward, but you cannot skip intermediate nodes.

For example, when reading news, there is a hierachical relation between the newsgroup list, the newsgroups and the articles within each newsgroup. Likewise with mail folders or FTP directories.

When reading Gopher or WWW nodes, on the other hand, there is normally no relation between nodes other than that provided by the hyperlinks.

But an HTML document can define a path, which means that all nodes on that path acquire a linear relationship. It is good to note that such relationships are independent of the individual nodes: there is no information in the node itself that indicates that it is part of hierarchical or linear relation. Indeed, the same node can appear in a hierarchy and quite independently also as a hyperlinked document elsewhere.

The mode is indicated by the color of the Argo window: yellow means flat hyperspace, cyan is for a document in a hierarchy, green for a document in a path. Note that a document in a path is always also part of a hierarchy, viz. with the node that defined the path. The fourth color, pink, is used when editing a document.

Common functions for all modes

Argo offers many functions that work on (almost) all nodes, independent of their relation with other nodes. Some of these functions may depend on the particular medium (or format) of the document, however, but that is usually obvious. One such command, of course, is the ExitExit command.

The history subsystem caches the last 6 nodesthis is configurable and keeps a list of all accessed nodes in this and all previous sessions. The BackBack command (available in several guises) lets you back up through this list one node at a time. You can also select a node from the complete (or recent part of?) the history list or directly from the 6 nodes around the current one.

Displayed nodes can be saved to a local file, edited, replied to (if the author is known), forwarded, reloaded or printed. (Commands Save asSave as, EditEdit, ReplyReply, SendSend, ReloadReload and PrintPrint.) These commands all have options, for example to choose the format, the file name, the printer, the mail addresses, etc. The options are selected from pop-up dialogs that appear when the command is selected.

New files can be created with Create documentCreate document, which automatically lands you in the editor.

The hotlist subsystem maintains a list of nodes. There are commands to add nodes to this list (at the end), to remove nodes from the list, or to display (jump to) a node on the list.

You can also enter a URL directly with the Go toGo to command, which also offers help in constructing the correct URL if the node comes from the Gopher, News, WAIS, etc worlds.

There are commands to change aspects of the interface itself, such as Optionscolors, fonts, size of the history cache, start-up node, pass-through mode (load straight to disk), etc.

Gopher and WWW documents

Nodes that are part of the Gopher or WWW-proper world are presented as belonging to a flat network of documents, with only hyperlink relations between them. The fact that Gopher menus often correspond to hierarchical file systems is simply ignored. The hierarchy is not strict enough and much too large (i.e., deep) anyway.

The document are normally displayed fully formatted, but you can see the underlying HTML by setting Raw displayRaw display to `on' (in the Options menu).

FTP directories and local files

When viewing FTP directories or local directories, Argo is in hierarchical mode, which means that you can go `up' to the parent of a directory with the Up to parentUp to parent command.

Special commands that only apply to FTP and local directories are View as iconsView as icons and View as textView as text, which switch between a graphical and a textual directory listing. In the latter view the files' sizes are shown, and the icons are reduced to thumbnail images in front of the name. These commands do not load new nodes, so nothing is added to the history list when you use them.

Directories and files can be created or deleted (but the operations may fail due to protection violations) with Create directory, Delete directory, Create document and Delete document. The last command applies to the currently displayed node.

An alternative for Create directory and Delete directory is to add those commands to the file selector box that appears when trying to load or save a file. The commands don't have to appear in the main interface in that case.


News is also hierarchical, but with only three levels: news root, where a list of all newsgroups is displayed, newsgroup level, which shows a list of articles in a particular group, and article level, which shows a single article.

The root level can be filtered, with the help of SubscribeSubscribe and UnsubscribeUnsubscribe commands. These commands give access to a dialog in which you can select the newsgroups (and mailing lists, see below) to subscribe to or unsubscribe from. New groups that you have not yet subscribed to or unsubscribed from act as subscribed groups, but in the display they are set of from the other groups.

The articles within a newsgroup are collected into `threads' and then the collections are sorted with the oldest on top. The Subscribe and Unsubscribe commands are available on this level as well.

The HTML path mechanism is used to put all the articles in the newsgroup into a linear path, so that they all have successors and predecessors. From every article except the first and the last, you can thus select NextNext and PredecessorPredecessor along the path. Because the articles have been sorted, you read all articles about one subject, then all on the next subject, etc.

News articles are sometimes (but very seldom) made unreadable with the Rot-13 method. The Rot-13Rot-13 command can make such articles visible. There are no commands for extracting uuencoded or sharred files. Most of the article headers are hidden, but they can be made visisble with the Raw display command.

When replying to an article, the reply can be send either to the newsgroup (`posted') as a follow-up, or send to the author or to anybody else. The dialog box that pops up when you finish editing gives the first option as the default. When creating a new document, not in reply to an existing article, the `send to author' option is not available.

Personal mail

Like news, mail is organized hierarchical as a collection of folders and messages within folders. The difference with news is that messages are not automatically distributed over folders, but instead arrive in the incoming mailbox. To move them to other folders the Save as command is not appropriate, since it writes to a file instead of appending to a folder and since it does not delete the original. The command Store in folderStore in folder does all that.

Sorting of messages within folders is analogous to the method for news and the same path mechanism applies.

Mailing lists

Argo tries to be smart about mailing lists, recognizing when a message is not personal, but coming from a list. When the Store in folder command is used, it offers the name of the mailing list as the default folder to store to.

The Subscribe and Unsubscribe commands also work when reading mail. The same dialog box appears, with the same list of newsgroups and mailing lists, but when the currently displayed document came from a mailing list, that list is offered as the default list to unsubscribe from.

Not all mailing lists are known to Argo and new mailing lists may be set up that are not in Argo's database. To cater for that, it is always possible to add the name and address of a mailing list by hand, from the subscribe or unsubscribe dialog boxes.

In addition, Argo uses some heuristics to check if a mail message might be coming from a mailing list, by looking for typical header lines, such as To: Multiple recipients of... and X-Listprocessor-Version:.