So... What is Reveal?

Short Answer:
It's an Interface Engine - sort of like a replacement shell.
It's best to think of a shell as the skin or membrane (or "face") of your computer. It's the bit you "talk" to, or interact with. It's the interface. And while it's quite easy to class Reveal as a replacement shell (it does perform that function - which is why we have classed it so in the "short answer"), that's really only half the story.

Longer Answer:
You might have heard Reveal referred to as a shell replacement for windows. Certainly, if you're at all familiar with shells it's an obvious label for Reveal. And it's true: a major facet of Reveal's functionality is shared by - actually, is the foundation of - recognised replacement shells (ie. customising the desktop interface). However, while this goal is the concept that other recognised replacement shells are founded upon, it's more of an obvious or logical benefit of Reveal's wider intent to give the user control of how they work and play with their computer.

Now, this isn't a subtle (or not so subtle) way of making you think that Reveal is somehow a "better" kind of replacement shell. On the contrary, I want to make it plain that because Reveal is designed as a comprehensive interface engine (and also through it's other goals), Reveal is a more profound, effective and open process of developing the Human-Computer Relationship.

While present replacement shells (ala litestep and evwm) have traditionally allowed you to customise the look and actions of your desktop within a certain framework, Reveal let's you go further. Hell, throw away the desktop metaphor completely and make your interface a pig sty... literally! Let the "pigs" wander around in the muck, touch them and they squeal (perhaps their name); click on them and notepad (for example) opens. Now, there's probably no conceivable reason to do this, but you can.

Reveal doesn't constrain you to use any particular interface elements (like a taskbar, wharf or desktop shortcuts). It isn't some template for you to slot in some tiles and icons. In fact, Reveal is founded upon the idea of an open dialogue between you and your computer. A means to specify exactly how you want your interface to behave.

So how do you do this exactly? By talking to Reveal in a language that's designed to be easy, effiecient and powerful. Learning it is easy; designing something meaningful with it is the challenge.

As I'm fond of saying: Reveal... the possibilites.

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