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Preview: Project News: The Traverser

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Recent changes to news

Last Build Date: Thu, 27 Dec 2007 03:26:54 -0000 back up and running

Thu, 27 Dec 2007 03:26:54 -0000 is now back up and running. It was down for a while when the web host moved it to a new server/platform. Please feel free to use The Traverser for all your custom programming projects. It does the programming for you. I'm so glad I'm out of programming!

Help Wanted - Data Entry

Sun, 06 Jun 2004 16:04:01 -0000

The Traverser is a wide-ranging database, and with your help, it can become even bigger. Just email a description of your proposed table or tables to After a rudimentary background check, you will be given a password that lets you add records, provided your idea serves a useful purpose, could be considered beneficial to the general public, is not too voluminous, and does not violate any laws or decency standards. Currently, The Traverser is not a money-making operation, but various arrangements are negotiable if it becomes so in the future.

Traverser Provides Search Engine Alternative

Wed, 12 May 2004 22:30:40 -0000

A wide-ranging database now resides at, showcasing The Traverser's functionality and giving users an even more efficient way to look up certain types of information on the Internet.

A traditional search engine is still the best bet for using keywords to search the entire web for potential pages. The Traverser, however, is useful for any data that can be stored in a table, particularly if you know the category of the data.

Once you find the table you're looking for, similar tables are usually nearby, as well as tables that are more general or more specific. Also, you can sort a table in any order, and search within any table, regardless of its length, with a relatively quick response time.

For example, to see a list of the largest libraries in the world, go to and click OK. Click the button labeled General and then click the button labeled 1 for the General Subject. Click Library. The list appears in order by size. To sort the list by date, click Order and then choose 1 from the drop list for Library.Founded. Click OK and then click |<. Click Find to search or click <= to go back and check out other subjects.

The database also contains the periodic table of elements, national and state capitols and populations, world holidays and religions, units of measurement, and much more. To get the database started, information was obtained from "Pocket Tables: An Everyday Reference" by John O. E. Clark, (c) 2003 with permission of Barnes & Noble Books. While already contains a lot of information, there is plenty of room for growth. If you have an area of interest and would like to contribute information to The Traverser, please email Project Admin tcleland.

You can also set up your own, separate, custom databases, since The Traverser application can be downloaded free of charge. If it can be used to create a database this vast, just think what it can do for a small business!

Thinking futuristically, a hidden strength of The Traverser may in the way it organizes its tables. A relational database such as The Traverser's could form the foundation for a talking computer, as it can classify subjects and parts of speech in a way that grammar functions can recognize. A tremendous undertaking, to be sure, but a great challenge for the world programming community!

New email address

Tue, 12 Aug 2003 18:25:18 -0000

Emails for The Traverser may now be sent to:

Email and postal addresses changing

Fri, 04 Jul 2003 18:32:04 -0000

The email and postal addresses for The Traverser are changing.


Postal mail:
2117 Marquis Rd.
Golden Valley, MN 55427

Emails may be delayed or disrupted after July 18, 2003.

If there are no active administrators for the project and you would like to participate, please feel free to download the app and resurrect the project under another name, with my blessing.

-- Tom Cleland

Web Hosts encouraged to profit from The Traverser

Mon, 16 Jun 2003 17:50:24 -0000

While The Traverser can be used for personal web applications, such as the recently released Grocery List example, it can also be used to expand the audience for web hosting companies.

In addition to the typical HTML foundation, many web hosting companies also offer MySQL and PHP. These hosts can now place The Traverser as an additional layer on top of that, enabling their customers to efficiently set up relational database applications, and share the data with anyone in the world.

Monetary income from The Traverser can be generated in a number of ways. The simplest way, from a web host's perspective, would be to offer MySQL and PHP, charge as normal, and let the user install The Traverser in their space. To make it easier for the customer, however, hosts can pre-install The Traverser and issue passwords to database administrators, then check the size of the MySQL database, and charge based on the amount of disk space used. Yet another way might be to provide useful reference content and charge a fraction of a cent for each page visited.

Because The Traverser is released under the GNU GPL (General Public License), it can be freely obtained and modified, and you can apply a financial charge when the program is run. You can also charge if people want to download a copy of the source code from your site. If The Traverser itself is modified and re-released, however, it must be under the GNU GPL.

The Traverser comes with five security levels. A web host's customer is granted the topmost administrator level. The administrator then in turn grants privileges to other users of a database. Some users can design tables and relate them together, while others are allowed to edit the data in the tables. There is also a read-only level, and a level that allows users to create records, but not delete them.

The content possibilities for The Traverser are as varied as the world around us. It lends itself best to extended hierarchies of information. For example, a sports statistics database might contain the following chain of tables: league, division, team, player, and year. A geographic database might contain country, state-province, and city; and a scientific database might contain cluster, galaxy, star, planet, moon, compound, molecule, element, particle, and quark. Surfing to get at the information you need becomes tighter than a full-blown web engine search.

The Traverser also lends itself well in many-to-many relationships such as class-student, order-product, and flag-color.

"I would set up some of these databases myself," said Tom Cleland, author of The Traverser, "but I feel my role is to hang back and address any issues that may arise."

Another factor limiting Cleland's involvement is a recent job change. He is currently working as a street canvasser for an environmental organization.

"In these urgent times, I'm ready to take a break from programming," said Cleland. "I am hopeful that others will take up the baton and carry on the spirit of The Traverser."

Grocery List program written in a day using the Traverser

Wed, 04 Jun 2003 22:44:11 -0000

The Traverser was used to create a grocery list program in less than a day, appearing to surpass the claimed efficiencies that can be achieved with the tool. Database application development time reductions using the tool had been estimated at about 50%.

The program includes a drop list of all the items in a store, and creates a list that can then be sorted by aisle number. It can also store recipes, keep past grocery lists, and accept multiple stores and shoppers.

The day's development effort included a trip to the grocery store, noting what was in each aisle, and entering the data back at the computer.

Because the Traverser is data-driven, no programming was necessary. All functionality specific to the grocery list program was placed in a database file used by the Traverser. The database file can be downloaded at:

Since the Traverser is open source, additional functionality, such as copying in recipes or providing reminders, can be added programmatically. For more information about the Traverser, visit:

Traverser 1.0 released, could cut development time in half

Tue, 27 May 2003 08:44:28 -0000

The Traverser, a free software package that could cut database application development time in half, has just been released. By using a naming convention on foreign keys, users can link together all the tables in a database without programming, allowing developers to concentrate on business rules and other custom modifications.

After specifying fields and indexes, users can navigate from table to table, editing records along the way. Sorts, searches, and lookups (also called drop down lists) are generated automatically. Capabilities include:

* Moving from parent to child tables in an ongoing pattern.
* Filtering child records based on the selected parent.
* Automatically populating lookup drop lists.
* Applying a default sort order within the parent context.
* Sorting and searching on any field, or combination of fields, using the lookup description as well as the identifier.

The Traverser runs using PHP and MySQL.

While relational databases have been around for a long time, the Traverser could be the first application to automatically integrate the parent-child table hierarchy. The benefits are the greatest when a database contains a number of one-to-many and many-to-many table relationships.

"Whether the Traverser is folded into another project, or other projects are folded into the Traverser, this is functionality that all database applications ought to have," said Tom Cleland, author of the Traverser. "I'm not aware of anything like it in the proprietary realm."

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