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Introduction

A Scanner Darkly

"The two hemispheres of my brain are competing?" Fred said.

"Yes."

"Why?"

"Substance D. It often causes that, functionally. This is what we expected; this is what the tests confirm. Damage having taken place in the normally dominant left hemisphere, the right hemisphere is attempting to compensate for the impairment. But the twin functions do not fuse, because this is an abnormal condition the body isn't prepared for. It should never happen. "Cross-cuing", we call it. Related to splitbrain phenomena. We could perform a right hemispherectomy, but--"

"Will this go away," Fred interrupted, "when I get off Substance D?"

"Probably," the psychologist on the left said, nodding. "It's a functional impairment."

The other man said, "It may be organic damage. It may be permanent. Time'll tell, and only after you are off Substance D for a long while. And off entirely."

"What?" Fred said. He did not understand the answer-- was it yes or no? Was he damaged forever or not? Which had they said?

-- Phillip K. Dick, A Scanner Darkly

Substance D is an application development environment that provides the following features:

  • Facilities that allow developers to define "content" (e.g. "a blog entry", "a product", or "a news item", etc).
  • A management (aka "admin") web UI which allows nonexpert but privileged users to create, edit, update, and delete developer-defined content.
  • "Undo" capability for actions taken via the management UI.
  • A way to make highly granular hierarchical security declarations for content objects (e.g. "Bob can edit this post" or "Bob can edit all posts in this collection" as opposed to just "Bob can edit posts").
  • Built-in users and groups management.
  • Built-in content workflow.
  • Indexing and searching of content (field, keyword, facet, and full-text).
  • A facility for relating content objects to each other.
  • An "evolve" mechanism for evolving content over time as it changes.

Substance D is built upon on the following technologies:

The Management Interface

The Substance D management interface (aka :term:`SDI`) is a set of :term:`view` registrations that are imposed upon the resource tree. The SDI allows you to add, delete, change and otherwise manage resources.

The SDI is extensible and allows you to plug your own views into it, so you can present nontechnical users with a way to manage arbitrary kinds of content.

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