(Stinger's Lightweight Interactive Key
Copyright (c) Gerald F. Guala 2004-12
facilitate the use of interactive keys. You are undoubtedly aware that
there are many of these programs available. At one point I listed links
to 32 of them on a web page and that didn't begin to capture the
diversity among them. Unfortunately, almost all of these programs
require downloads of some sort to run them, they usually run on only a
single platform or (even worse) from a single web site where the data
are held in captivity, and they usually aren't free. SLIKS is written
It runs over the web or locally on your machine. Users can
download their own copy or use it from your web site. It runs through
the web browser so it is essentially platform independant.
I made SLIKS to introduce a lot more people to interactive keys. It is
not intended to compete with much more feature rich systems such as
LucID and Intkey. They have been around for a long time and are very
well developed. They just have never been useable in a lot of
situations that I wanted them to be. SLIKS is intended to fill the gap
that they haven't after
many years of development and I hope that SLIKS might prompt
the many organizations and individuals putting a lot of effort
into interactive key products and data sets to make those products and
their data sets, more open and accessible. I also hope that it will
liberate a lot of data that are currently hidden in propietary products
so that we can
all use them for bigger and better analyses and tools than were ever
dreamed of by their creators. One thing to note, if you want to make
money by making people pay for access to your data (or anyone's data),
you should probably look for another product. I don't care if you sell
your data sets, but you can't sell SLIKS, and because anyone with
minimal computer skills can read your actual data file when they use
SLIKS, you don't have software protection from people seeing your
original data. Nothing is hidden (not even the
source code) and you can't pretend to have a secret black box with
SLIKS because there isn't one. You also shouldn't consider SLIKS if you
need to use continuous
characters (although I do have a prototype that uses them). Finally,
you shouldn't consider SLIKS if you need support (and you don't have a
there. It is what it is, and it is there for you to use. I'll likely
add features when I can but I can't promise any more than that.
- SLIKS is FREE and it can't be sold (see the license) so you
won't ever be ransomed to use your own data in it.
- It requires no special program or plugin installations so the
many users who are prohibited by their employers from installing
software or who are just unwilling to install software or plugins can
- It runs right in your browser (Internet Explorer, Safari, Opera),
even on Pocket PC. SLIKS Version 1.0 runs in mozilla based
netscape and firefox) as well and I hope to make all versions
ubiquitously compatible eventually. In the meantime, if you are using Firefox you can install the IE Tab extension which is free and takes seconds to install
- I don't want your email address, I don't care who you are, there
aren't any ads, and I don't want your money. I'll be happy if you
just use the program, cite it appropriately, and maybe say something
nice about me in public
- SLIKS is very easy to put a data set into. There is only one file
to make and you don't need any software that you don't already have. It
also translates easily to other formats
- SLIKS uses multistate or binary characters.
- SLIKS is extremely easy to set up on your website. Just copy the
files to a web enabled directory and it runs.
- There are no hidden formats. You can make your key as beautiful
and well illustrated as you want using simple web pages and web image
formats (jpeg, gif etc). If you can
make a word processing document and "save as" html, you can
make richly illustrated keys. If you can cut and paste the
URL/Address/Location line from your web browser, you can link your key
to anyplace on the WWW.
- If you think that you can make it better, do it. Just follow the
license. The program isn't compiled so all of the code is right there
for you to see.
- To run the program you need a data file (ending in .js), the main
program file, and three other HTML files. You are welcome to make your
own data files, name them anything you want, and to change the name of
the main file and the reference to the data file in it. Any other
change constitutes a modification of the program and must respect my
copyright and the terms of the license.
TO USE SLIKS
KEYS in SLIKS (Current Versions)
that if you must use Firefox in versions 1.1 or later, you should install the free IE Tab extension . It takes seconds from the Tools->Add-ons->Extensions menu in Firefox.
browser to use these)
All Grass Species of the US (by state) (Part of the USDA PLANTS Database)
All Gymnosperm Species of the US (Part of the USDA PLANTS Database)
Monocots of the USA (Part of the USDA PLANTS Database)
All Legumes in the US (by state) (Part of the USDA PLANTS Database)
Key to the genus Amelanchier in North America by Chris Campbell
Key to several kinds of pollen in Missouri by David Bogler
University of Calgary Herbarium's Key to Alberta Plants.
Ib Christensen's SLIKS Keys Keys for groups in the Flora of
Denmark, Flora Hellenica, Floria Nordica and other areas. He also has
an Instruction Manual in Danish
An implementation of SLIKS keys on a FREE server (freewebspace.com). This is just to show that you can produce and implement SLIKS keys on the web easily and with absolutely no cost
An example of a richly illustrated SLIKS key. This shows how to put images and backgrounds in all parts of a SLIKS key.
The definitive key to Ukuleles (yes Ukuleles)
Weeds of Container Nurseries SLIKS Key
The genus Hymenodon
Useful SLIKS versions and permutations by others.SAIKS (SLIKS Alike Interactive Key
Software) This is a great program. Greg Alexander, a
real programmer, just completely rewrote SLIKS. It runs in just about
all browsers. It also allows you to
code multiple states for a given taxon without splitting up the
character. Just put a SLIKS data set (the .js file) in the same
folder as the SAIKS .js and single html file, open the html
file in notepad or some other editor and change the filename (ending in
.js) in the first script line to match yours. Great job Greg!
JEPSON FLORA SLIKS KEYS
These are in an older version of SLIKS modified to work with a MEKA
SLIKS converter by Chris Meacham. The important thing here is
that there is a converter for MEKA data to SLIKS
format - Thanks Chris!
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Interactive Keys to the Woody Plants of New York State and the New York
Metropolitan Area. NOTE: You will need to hit RESTART to begin. These are downloadable keys with very nice
imbedded illustrations. Gerry Moore, Cathy Rushworth, Steve
Glenn, and Jinshuang Ma have done a great job with
In Older Versions
This is a small demo based on
the first data sets ever to run in an interactive key (Larry E. Morse's
IDENT in 1969). It is a leaf key for the Maples (Acer) of
Michigan. The data set was then used in interactive keys (IDENT then
ONLINE and INTKEY) in John Beaman's Plant Systematics course at MSU for
the next 20 years.
of North America (adapted from FNA with links to FNA as well as PLANTS
- This key also illustrates how to put character illustrations directly
into the key)
These Magnoliaceae keys show how you can put images and hyperlinks
directly into the keys.
de Norte America (En Español)
are some other older demos based on the
species of Magnolia in my
neighborhood in Virginia where I lived when I wrote this program.
DEMO1 (using simple web
pages and images)
DEMO2 (using links to the
USDA PLANTS database)
PDA DEMO (Written for IE on Pocket PC 2003)
MAKE THE DATA FILE BY HAND
A DATAFILE ONLINE WITH SLIKSMAKER
Note: some network settings may prevent SLIKSMaker from running properly over the internet. If it doesn't work online for you, please download it and run it locally
updated: 29 Feb. 2012
Contact STINGER at STINGERSPLACE.COM for more information.