Re: [unrev-II] Reception at SRI Honoring Doug's Award

From: Eric Armstrong (
Date: Thu Jan 04 2001 - 21:04:50 PST

  • Next message: Eric Armstrong: "Re: [unrev-II] OHS / DKR problem revisited"

    I think that's a good reason for identifying the modules
    and focusing on the APIs -- or, better, on protocol-based
    interactions. Had that been the case, the system could
    have been rewritten, module by module, over the years.

    We have finally, as a technologically-oriented society,
    come to the realization that it is *standards* which are

    Granted, much was lost, as you indicate. The gains came
    from standardized interfaces and the ability to build
    new functionality from existing components.

    Once those two trends finish merging, systems development
    will explode. The OHS effort should be about nothing less
    than defining the "interaction standards", as Ken Holman
    pointed out. The use of topic maps and the like (that
    Jack and you understand a helluva lot better than I) should
    then make it possible to define non-demoninational standards,
    so those modules can be written in newer and better languages
    as time goes on.

    Should OHS succeed in defining those standards, it will
    have contributed immeasurably to humanity.

    Adam Cheyer wrote:
    > > [Garold L. Johnson] Certainly there are more and better tools
    > available
    > > today than when Doug built Augment! Of course, given that Augment
    > was
    > > built, we are trying to transcend it and so are trying to do more,
    > but
    > > still, the tools should give us some real help.
    > Actually, I would argue that the existing tools and paradigms are much
    > more of a hinderance than a help, and are the real reason we haven't
    > made much progress to capturing the value and productivity that was
    > Augment. Let me explain.
    > In the 80s when programming for a DOS environment, only one program
    > ran at a
    > time, and each program was written from scratch, from start
    > to finish: GUI, input/output, application functionality. As a
    > consequence, there wasn't much consistancy across applications, but
    > each programmer could rethink what made sense for his or her programs
    > in terms of look and feel and functionality. When Windows became
    > popular,
    > it brought wonderful reusable components (e.g. dialog boxes, popup
    > menus) so that we didn't need to rewrite implementations of menu
    > systems
    > and so forth, and this helped ensure that all applications looked
    > similar,
    > and were written with a common style. Windows also brought along the
    > ability o run multiple programs at once and gave a simple mechanism
    > for
    > passing data among applications: the clipboard. But we lost something
    > without realizing it: applications were now thought of as separate,
    > stand-alone entities that only shared a clipboard and common GUI
    > elements.
    > My belief is that the power of Augment came not from any one feature
    > (e.g., backlinks, viewing options), but rather from the integrated
    > WHOLE. Augment was an "operating system" inside of which all
    > applications lived: email, word processor, web browser, code editor,
    > ontology editor, graphic editor, etc. In today's world, thanks in
    > part to
    > Windows, all of these are separate applications that share little --
    > in Augment, all of these blend into one system. Augment's true power
    > and its "bootstrapping" nature comes from the fact that every email
    > you
    > write can be journaled, linked to, commented on. Every document you
    > produce can be shared with others and versioned. As you add a new
    > feature to Augment, all applications are instantly improved. Augment
    > is
    > not a Windows application you run (or a website you visit), it's the
    > environment you live and work in. Few knowledge management systems
    > work
    > well today because it's hard to encourage people to upload documents
    > to
    > the "site" for others to view -- in the ideal system, you don't have
    > to
    > visit another knowledge management site to update or search, you
    > simply
    > live in the site all the time.
    > The closest Augment-like thing I've seen is Emacs, which becomes the
    > extensible shell around applications such as email, text editing,
    > word processing, even the operating system itself. Emacs commands
    > and functionality overlay all aspects of the applications living
    > inside
    > it.
    > As we work on Augment-like systems in the future using the latest and
    > greatest tools (web-based, windows-based, etc), I think it's essential
    > to think about not only how powerful they are but also what paradigms
    > ("boxes") they are putting us in and what we give up by using them.
    > Fodder for thought...
    > -- Adam
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    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jan 04 2001 - 21:15:36 PST