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Technical considerations and deficiencies

Adaptive Hypercycle of Sustainable Psychosocial Self-organization (Part #4)

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Given the complexity of the above diagram (Fig. 2), it is clearly desirable to be able to generate it by computer program rather than engaging in a manual drawing process (an option initially explored and used in the introductory paper to illustrate the possibility). This is especially the case when the diagram is designed for web use and when it is appropriate to experiment with various designs. Prior to improvement in the spiral representation (discussed below), the following considerations can be mentioned:

  • the simple algorithm initially used to provide a first approximation to spiral design and positioning is clearly defective in that a degree of asymmetry is evident -- hence the following discussion of a spiral metaphor, and notably the Fibonacci spiral
  • the program used for Fig. 2 initially generates an SVG (scalable vector graphic) variant which is in principle ideal for such representation. Unfortunately the relationship between SVG and web browsers is constantly evolving and as such may be considered as unstable -- images produced by this route a few years ago may be unreadable, or variously inoperable, with evolution of certain web browsers (or their configuration)
  • as a consequence of the constraint on SVG operation, the SVG variant was converted into a more stable conventional image format (JPG). This makes it possible (a) to associate hyperlinks with each condition and (b) to allow additional information to be displayed when the cursor is placed over any one condition. Unfortunately, again, web browsers are variously able to handle such features. Typically feature (a) is commonly available, whereas feature (b) is more dependably available with Internet Explorer. This may of course depend on how the browser is configured (if the user has the knowledge and the rights to do so). An alternative chosen was therefore to use javascript to open a window when clicking on any hexagram.
  • it is of course the case that a far superior result could be achieved through other software (possibly PHP or a Java applet), although this poses particular challenges for integrating the diagram to the documents to which it is linked
  • it is also possible that, in globally transforming the representation interactively, it could be explicitly related to other design metaphors, such as the circular mappings (as mentioned above)
  • other experiments may be fruitfully undertaken with animations of the hexagram coding system (Animation of Classical BaGua Arrangements: a dynamic representation of Neti Neti, 2008; Dynamic Exploration of Value Configurations: interrelating traditional cultural symbols through animation, 2008).

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