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The Internet Technology

Hypertext Creator: Structure of the Web 'Completely Wrong' 357

Posted by Soulskill
from the then-just-build-a-new-one dept.
angry tapir writes "The creator of hypertext has criticized the design of the World Wide Web, saying that Tim Berners-Lee's creation is 'completely wrong,' and that Windows, Macintosh and Linux have 'exactly the same' approach to computing. Ted Nelson, founder of first hypertext project, Project Xanadu, went on to say, 'It is a strange, distorted, peculiar and difficult limited system... the browser is built around invisible links — you can see something to click on but you’ve got nowhere else to go.'"
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Hypertext Creator: Structure of the Web 'Completely Wrong'

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  • by JSBiff (87824) on Friday April 15, 2011 @08:35AM (#35827858) Journal

    He lists several very abstract complaints, without giving an example of at least one way in which he thinks it could be differently, and done better?

    I'm not in complete disagreement with him that the web could be improved. For one thing, we've given website creators so much control over presentation, that there's no standard 'look' to hyperlinks anymore - ever been to a website and not even *realized* that one of the elements in the page was a link to something else?

    Also, there's too much problem of link obfuscation - the problem of the user having absolutely no idea where a link will take them, because when they hover the mouse over the link, it just shows some useless javascript, or the site designer used some javascript to make something which is not a link behave like a link, but not actually give the user any feedback about where it goes to, or the link is rendered by Flash, and Flash never tells you where a link goes. I just hate that.

    But, I'm not really sure that's what this guy was talking about. In fact, his complaints were *so* abstract, I have no idea what he was complaining about?

  • by wandazulu (265281) on Friday April 15, 2011 @08:39AM (#35827890)

    What's worse is that they did release something that they themselves said was essentially a watered-down, "test" application (sorry, can't remember its name). It made Lotus Notes seem like Notepad by comparison; if that was the "watered down" version of Xanadu, then it seems clear that Xanadu is something only this guy would be able to fully understand...or use.

  • by RingDev (879105) on Friday April 15, 2011 @08:46AM (#35827958) Homepage Journal

    Correction, what Xanadu "is" ;)

    http://www.xanadu.com/ [xanadu.com]

    It's basically an MDI for browsing where links open horrizontally and scroll with the page. It's a clugy attempt at what he is talking about.

    -Rick

  • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Informative)

    by emurphy42 (631808) on Friday April 15, 2011 @08:47AM (#35827964) Homepage
    Project Xanadu: Original 17 rules [wikipedia.org]

    6. Every document can contain links of any type including virtual copies ("transclusions") to any other document in the system accessible to its owner.

    Youtube demo [youtube.com] (the actual demo starts at about 3:15)

  • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Informative)

    by AmElder (1385909) on Friday April 15, 2011 @08:52AM (#35828010) Homepage

    No one can be told what Project Xanadu is. You have to see it for yourself. [youtube.com] I found that video on youtube of Ted Nelson showing off Xanadu a few years ago.

    He might be a mad man, but he's an interesting madman.

  • It's all about DRM (Score:5, Informative)

    by mangu (126918) on Friday April 15, 2011 @09:32AM (#35828418)

    If you look at the rules he proposes [wikipedia.org] you'll see that half of them are about restricting access and creating profit venues for the publishers.

    Ted Nelson's view is a web where you have to pay for each page you visit. We have seen too much of this lately

  • Re:Smokin' (Score:4, Informative)

    by xaxa (988988) on Friday April 15, 2011 @09:39AM (#35828516)

    At the moment, I duplicate (retype) any source material and provide a link to it.

    And that is how it should be. If the cited text changes, you do not want your text, which refers to the old version, to suddenly apparently refer to the new version.

    Continue reading what I wrote:

    I could make a link using his system which includes the text from the version of the document I look at

    (Alternatively, I might choose to link to the latest version.)

  • by Kamiza Ikioi (893310) on Friday April 15, 2011 @11:52AM (#35830232) Homepage

    If you look at the rules he proposes [wikipedia.org] you'll see that half of them are about restricting access and creating profit venues for the publishers.

    Ted Nelson's view is a web where you have to pay for each page you visit. We have seen too much of this lately

    Let's go down the checklist to see how well the WWW complies or has a mechanism TO comply (as in, without forcing someone at knife point... or... Cranky Old Man Cane in Your Chest point):

    Every Xanadu server is uniquely and securely identified. - Not Done
    Every Xanadu server can be operated independently or in a network. - Local, Intranet, Internet, Done
    Every user is uniquely and securely identified. - SSL, Done
    Every user can search, retrieve, create and store documents. - Google, Done
    Every document can consist of any number of parts each of which may be of any data type. - HTML5
    Every document can contain links of any type including virtual copies ("transclusions") to any other document in the system accessible to its owner. - Done
    Links are visible and can be followed from all endpoints. Pingback, Done (unless he means forcing reverse linking... HAHA, screw THAT!)
    Permission to link to a document is explicitly granted by the act of publication. - Done, we just can't convince the RIAA/MPAA of that...
    Every document can contain a royalty mechanism at any desired degree of granularity to ensure payment on any portion accessed, including virtual copies ("transclusions") of all or part of the document. - Done (it says "can" contain "a royalty mechanism", so yes, there is not restrictions on the WWW that force a document to explicitly NOT contain a royalty mechanism)
    Every document is uniquely and securely identified. - URI, Done
    Every document can have secure access controls. - SSL, Done
    Every document can be rapidly searched, stored and retrieved without user knowledge of where it is physically stored. Google (ever really know the drive letter of website pages you search for?), Done
    Every document is automatically moved to physical storage appropriate to its frequency of access from any given location. Amazon EC2, Google, Facebook, Load balancing, blah blah blah, Done
    Every document is automatically stored redundantly to maintain availability even in case of a disaster. Raid1,5, Done (unless he means forced mirroring, again SCREW THAT)
    Every Xanadu service provider can charge their users at any rate they choose for the storage, retrieval and publishing of documents. - Rackspace, Done
    Every transaction is secure and auditable only by the parties to that transaction. Part Done, SSL isn't the norm. But switch to SSL only, and Done.
    The Xanadu client-server communication protocol is an openly published standard. Third-party software development and integration is encouraged. - Done

    Beyond that, there's a few good points left. SSL should be standard as proven by FireSheep/Facebook debacle. Um... More people need to mirror... oh gee, I guess there aren't really any points left, unless you wanna force backlinking. And, with all do respect, he can shove that up his Xanadu! We have enough ads and spam without being force to replicate links back to link farms.

Mediocrity finds safety in standardization. -- Frederick Crane

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