On this page:
1.1 Prerequisites
1.2 How to install
1.3 Beyond that
7.1

1 Installation

1.1 Prerequisites

Pollen will run on Mac OS, Linux, or Windows.

Pollen is not a self-contained GUI program like Adobe InDesign. It’s a software package that runs atop the Racket language environment (also a free download).

Your three main tools in Pollen will be a text editor (for those starting out, I recommend DrRacket: The Racket Programming Environment), a terminal window, and a web browser. The terminal commands you’ll be using are simple, but if you haven’t used your terminal window before, this is the moment to learn where it is. (On Mac OS, your terminal window is called Terminal; on Windows it’s called the Windows Command Processor.)

After the initial download, Pollen does not require a network connection.

1.2 How to install

1.3 Beyond that

Pollen doesn’t install anything on your machine other than the Racket packages it relies on. It does not gather any information about you or your project. Your data belongs to you. I won’t know that you’re using Pollen unless you tell me.

Pollen’s built-in project web server is a real web server, however. Be mindful if you’re using it on a machine visible on a public network.

This project server is primarily a development & previewing tool. You do not need it to deploy Pollen projects (which generally compile down to a set of static files).

In general, I subscribe to the view that software should let you do what you want, not enroll you in a nanny state. Pollen is, in part, a programming language. Like all programming languages, it will let you do things that are incredibly clever. And also miserably stupid. But that is how we learn.

I’ve been using Pollen daily for several years (and will continue to do so, because my main work is writing). I’ve made Pollen available because a) I’m certain that others have had the same frustrations that I have, and b) feature suggestions and bug reports make it more useful for everyone.

I hope you enjoy using it. If you get stuck on something not covered here, see Getting more help.