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News: WebTracer2 beta available, go here

WebTracer is an project based on the intention to visualise the structure of the web. There are many applications that analyse websites for structural integrity and diagnostic purposes, but few reveal the visual structure that web hypertext creates. Webtracer represents this structure as a three dimensional molecular diagram, with pages as nodes(atoms) and links as the strings(atomic forces) that connect those nodes together.

Within the Webtracer environment the molecular structure of sites can be examined from any angle and any distance. Nodes can be selected to gain further information on their content and a browser launched to visit the corresponding page directly. The molecular structure of the site reflects both the sequence of hyperlinks within actual pages and also the internal structure of the host site's file system.

As such Webtracer generates an interactive molecular diagram that is unique to each site it visits. Tendencies of information design and the intentions of the site designer to promote or demote certain types of information become visually obvious. The resulting structures range from deeply interwoven tapestries to delicate and simple tree designs.

Webtracer is intended as an interactive tool to both visualise the web and allow users to gather information about a site through its structure, analysing the intentions and principles of a site's construction and design.

Webtracer is to be released as a freeware application on it's completion.

WebTracerb.zip (198k)
Win 95/98/2000/ME/XP
NT may work but is unsupported
DirectX version 7 or above must be installed
Visit http://www.microsoft.com/directx/
Or just get any PC mag with DXinstall on the cover disk

Run "StartTrace.exe" to launch webtracer, this panel allows you to specify different setup details.
Webtracer can be run in either Software or Hardware Mode. Software Mode slows down peformance when handling many nodes. Hardware mode can handle many nodes (Depending on your card)
Running the app with the debug display will tell you what FPS you are getting.
You must connect to the internet before launching the app, otherwise you wont get anywhere.
The help menu can be launched by clicking the question mark in the bottom right corner.
You can view the current page selected by clicking on the "view page" icon but it's better to run the app in windowed mode if you are going to do this.
The app is currently limited to a maximum of 300 pages, the release version will have no limit other than the speed & memory of your computer.

Please try and run the app in different modes (windowed,fullscreen e.t.c.) and let me know the results. If the app crashes you can send me the debug file "debug.txt" that will be placed in the webtracer directory.
I anticipate there will be some issues with directx compatibility on different graphics card setups.. I have had success with Riva TNT and ATI Rage series cards so far. Software mode looks a little chunky but runs as fast as your machines processor will allow.

Current Issues
Reads non-html files in as bytecode if they are linked direct from a page rather than inlined.
Will be corrected soon. Currently configured to scan and display such linked files but at present the app also reads the bytecode looking for links!
Node structure somewhat bloated, limiting total number of nodes that can be held in memory and therefore total map size.
Will be reduced.
Not configured to deal with ftp links and therefore misrepresents such links as errors.
Application size reduced to an executable of approx 800k. Should reduce further on code refinement.
More bugs to be identified and addressed in beta testing

Please contact: info@nullpointer.co.uk with bugs and other issues.