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OpenNet Tools Suite

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What are the OpenNet Tools ?

The OpenNet software suite is a set of tools designed for enabling and assisting both humans and automated (autonomous) agents with the manipulation, organization and presentation of different media objects that can be important for distributed interactive project and product development.

OpenNet Tools Suite includes both server-side (browser interface) and client-side (standalone application interface) programs for the composition, distribution, and personalized management of content and material within projects that typically will involve the preparation of HTML multimedia presentations or the preparation of documents to be included in Wiki / Tiki environments. The architecture, design and initial software has a fairly long history of development and now as a SourceForge project is being offered as a starting point for rigorous and modernized redevelopment to not only complete the original system but to rework it to fit with contemporary web architectures, products and services.

OpenNet was originally designed to be strongly client-based with a number of client applications that could communicate over ftp, http, rtsp, and H.320 with server applications including databases, all in the broad context of group collaboration and video-enabled meetings, courses, presentations and similar interactions. A special protocol and language, OSML, was designed on the basis of HTML, XML, and SMIL developments and standards. OSML had specifications and tags designed expressly for the group composition of multimedia-intensive compositions such as interactive movies and courseware or business meeting presentations. OSML has been superseded by many new developments within the XML community and there is no longer a need for an additional language and standard but several of its features can be used to enhance what is currently available.

Now the focus is more on providing smart tools that are principally server-side applications for working with media (text, images, flash, audio, video) that are in either database servers, websites, CMS environments, or on individual client machines, for the preparation and delivery of presentations, courses, multimedia talks and reports, and other venues where a number of people in some group or community will be viewing and perhaps commenting upon the presented work.

The individual elements within OpenNet Suite and their main functions are:

  • E-Presents - compose, edit, and distribute customized video-enabled presentations to an audience of recipients who view the presentations via web and stream servers. All work data is recorded in a SQL database. A variety of customized features includes encryption of media elements and tracking of video viewing activity at the clip-manipulation level. The earlier custom viewer application, a counterpart to Real Player and Windows Media Player, will not be rebuilt as a separate application but certain functionality will be integrated into a web-based tool that allows presentation composers and designers to introduce parallel XML documents whose dynamic behavior are controlled by events in an accompanying video (or audio) and/or by user behavior that is tracked.
  • MakeNotes - capture and organize video frames, clips, and annotations, producing a compact XML page that can be used later for tracking and reviewing the selected material.
  • Verite - image organization, annotation, and comparison including recognition capabilities based upon neural network algorithms included in the application. This will remain mainly a client-side application due to the computation load of the recognition functions.
  • ArcMedia - archiving and organizing of data from e-conferences and e-presentations into a PHP-accessed database.
  • SnapIt - image and desktop capture, annotation, and organization. One of the special features of SnapIt is the ability to capture sections of a window in either one of several image formats (e.g., JPEG) or as content (e.g., text).
  • ExploreIt - search, capture, annotation, and organization tool that operates interactively and in the background while the user is engaged in other activities, producing a report that is a second level of processing beyond simple searching.
  • MediaCreator - video clip composition and editing, using local webcam, videocam, DVD or tape source, or a remote internet camera. Enabled for producing output clips in multiple compression formats.
  • NetMon - monitor data collection and client-side file transfer, file create, streaming and perform a variety of record-tracking, archiving/backup, directory reorganization and retransmission.

The original version of this software, the source for all of which constitutes the beginning point of the Open Source project, was all written between 1999 and 2001 using C++, Visual Basic (for GUIs and client app shells), XML, SAX, SQL, and Perl. The most mature components were those relating to the production of video clips and their integration with existing video, text, and images into packaged web pages that were stored on a Linux server and about which information was delivered by email to lists of recipients indicated by the creator.

All of the software had been developed in the USA as part of a formal startup company, Silicon Dominion Computing, Inc. which is legally defunct and disbanded since 2001, under no obligations. All intellectual property and product rights, ownership and other considerations were and remain held by the founder and owner, Martin Dudziak.

In this new project the aim is to build from the foundations but to radically rewrite nearly all of the software. Certain functionality must and should remain client-side, such as the compute-intensive manipulation of audio and video data and their compression and decompression. Much of the new components will be browser-based, platform independent, and designed to work within the general "flavor" of such environments as Tiki, Twiki, and other strong emerging CMS and C3DE (collaborative cognitive community development environment). However, no restrictions will be placed upon the type of applications that can be used as sources or destinations of data objects created or edited through the OpenNet tools, in order that these tool applications can be used by the widest possible community.

OpenNet is planned for use within several different online and mixed (online + offline, direct) communities in education, business and scientific research, including one (Futures Gateway) that is now underway and for which a SourceForge project structure has recently been suggested.

Server-side focus and requirements (or recommendations) will include: Linux OS, Apache, PHP, Perl, Java, Python and MySQL (initially but also Oracle). Programming of client-side applications (mostly front-end) will be in Java. Audio emphasis will be on MP3 but with accommodation for other codecs and standards. Video emphasis will be on MPEG4 with accommodation also for Real and Quicktime protocols. Streaming will be via HTTP. Plans are currently for videoconferencing to be handled using either or both of the iVisit and vPhone software tools.

Papers, Presentations, Memos, Notes, Fragments
Y2002 mini-presentation on how some of the original OpenNet s/w can be directed (esp. for countries on the other side of the "Digital Divide")
The Early Version - All the Code and "Stuff" in Zip Files

Contact Information
Project Administrator: Martin Dudziak Forte Horizons LLC, prime contributor & financial sponsor

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