Hall, Wendy, Carr, Les A. and DeRoure, David C.
Linking the World Wide Web and Microcosm.
BCS workshop on New Directions in Software Development, Wolverhampton, UK.
Designers of hypermedia systems have recognised the need to move away from closed systems to open environments which separate the link structure from the data in the system, and enable separate link and data processing. The main motivations behind this development are the need to reduce authoring effort in large-scale hypermedia applications and to make them more easily modifiable, customisable and extensible. Microcosm is one such open hypermedia system which has been developed at the University of Southampton. At the heart of Microcosm is the Link Service, which allows links maintained by the system to be applied to information native to third-party applications in the host environment. The World-Wide Web is an open system: its formats and protocols are well-documented and are negotiated in an international open forum. However, its current use as a hypermedia system is closed in the sense that the link information is hidden within a document's data, working against the aims of large-scale hypermedia as mentioned above. Since this 'closedness' is not a fundamental design feature of the Web but a consequence of current practise in Web document design, then it is more than possible to augment the technology to provide the kind of link service described above. This article discusses the ways and means of combining link service capabilities with the World Wide Web.
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