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Uncle Unc

The Universal Network Client

Why can't I divide my mailbox or file explorer view into pages like I can with my favourite web search engine?

Why can't I sort my webmail folders by date, size or name like I can in my file explorer?

Why do I have to open a different program to browse my database from the one I use to browse my log-files? Why doesn't the neat filtering function in one exist in the other?

Do you find your computer's user interface frustrating? We asked ourselves these sorts of questions many times, and didn't know the answer either. So we wrote a little bit of code, and came up with an answer.

Uncle Unc is an application that provides an integrated view of structured data sources. Using a very flexible and powerful representation model, many services can be represented in Uncle Unc.

Uncle Unc is a framework for network data-sharing, enabling remote administration and access to a range of services from a range of clients, using a simple text-based protocol that isn't tied to any platform, operating system or programming language.

Uncle Unc is a toolkit for agile development of interfaces to network services that are easy to maintain, and will grow as the service grows.

At the heart of Uncle Unc is a small generic specification of what a information-based network service might look like. This specification is very generic, and free of reference to any specific technologies or buzz-words.

It is based on the simple observation that much of the time we spend with computers is spent organising and categorising data, pushing data from one box to another, and invoking actions on that data. Most user interfaces attempt to represent this activity for a single type of data, such as a mailbox, a filesystem, a relational database, a network of computers or a music collection. Uncle Unc provides a framework that makes it easy to interact with any data source.

If you feel constrained by the user interfaces you are using (or developing!), or frustrated by having to use a poorly-designed user interface for a particular task, then Uncle Unc may turn out to be a good friend!

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