What is RPHelper?

RPHelper is intended to help a research project by holding all research data. The application is written in Java and uses compressed XML for storage, so both the software and your data are portable and can run from a floppy disk. This makes it ideal for keeping your research with you when transferring between university/school/college and home.

RPHelper has been released under the GNU General Public License (GPL) which gives you the freedom to use the sourcecode and make your own modifications. If you choose to redistribute the program, any modifications must also be classed under the GPL. This keeps the work open to all, and is especially relevant within educational establishments.

It is assumed there are 3 major groups of data; Notes, Quotes and Sources. Notes can be used to keep track of key concepts, definitions, good ideas or project management things. They can hold links to other data items to help connect ideas. Quotes are sections of text taken from a Source. Examples of Sources are books, papers, internet pages, journals and collections.


RPHelper is currently undergoing a rewrite (read about the progress). The existing version works, but is inelegant internally (hence not easy to expand) and has several bugs relating to organising data.

A tool will be provided to allow converting data held in the old format to the new, which is still compressed XML but is arranged differently.There are assumed to be 3 groups of data again, but these are now Groups, Sources and Data. Groups simply group other items together. Sources are now defined using XML which allows a wider variety of sources to be kept. Data are sections of text with a parent Source. Having a Group as a basic data item has come about through experience and a desire to create a better way of using the research. The interface is being overhauled extensively. The plans for a 'zoomable' interface have been brought forward to this version. The user interface is easier to expand thanks to using interfaces for generic viewers.


screenshot of typical view
Typical working view, lots of data up top with a source being examined below.
Screenshot of search panel
View of a search with results.
Screenshot of quote formatting filter
One of the formatting options being used on a quote.


RPHelper is released under the GNU General Public License (GPL). As well as being free (as in liberty), it is provided free of charge.

Sourceforge is lovely enough to host many applications, here is the official Sourceforge project homepage, and here is where to get both the source code and the executable of RPHelper.. Note that you need the Java virtual machine in order to run this application. There are several sources for this, including Sun and the Blackdown project. The minimum expected version of JVM is 1.3 (1.3 and 1.4 have been tested.).