Re: [unrev-II] Re: OHS Meeting at SRI on 010122 Demonstrate BrowseUp

From: Eric Armstrong (
Date: Thu Jan 25 2001 - 19:58:33 PST

  • Next message: Eric Armstrong: "Re: [unrev-II] More on GZigZag"

    Another great summary!
    Thanks again.

    Eugene Eric Kim wrote:
    > On Tue, 23 Jan 2001, Eric Armstrong wrote:
    > > As I recall, "we" (as a group) disliked that notion, at
    > > the time, because we wanted people to use a "vanilla
    > > browser", without having to do anything special to the
    > > client.
    > >
    > > I take it that our collective opinion is now more
    > > in favor of a smarter client?
    > >
    > > How much effort is it to install that proxy, anyway?
    > > Or is it pretty transparent? (Or does a remote server
    > > actually serve as the "proxy", so that you have to visit
    > > that server and, from there, go to other points on the
    > > Web?
    > As Jack pointed out, using the term "proxy server" in his original
    > description was misleading, although there's no reason why the system
    > couldn't be implemented that way. At the risk of repeating what
    > others
    > have already stated, here's my summary, along with some brief
    > commentary.
    > BrowseUp allows you to create links from any HTML page to any other
    > HTML
    > page. It consists of:
    > - a link server, which stores these links.
    > - an Internet Explorer plug-in, which downloads links from the link
    > server, and overlays those links on top of the currently displayed
    > web
    > page. The plug-in also allows you to create links by dragging and
    > dropping.
    > The links are granular, and optionally bidirectional. You can also
    > annotate the links. The link server stores all of this information,
    > as
    > well as thumbnails of the information being linked, and the "quality"
    > of
    > the links. Link quality is an attribute used for displaying available
    > links, that is based on the frequency a link is viewed and presumably
    > other information as well.
    > The link server is written in Java, and apparently communicates on top
    > of
    > HTTP. They were apparently designed to be widely distributed, so that
    > these link servers could be found all over the Net. BrowseUp has some
    > solution for problems such as link integrity and modified documents,
    > although I think I may have missed that part of the discussion.
    > There was some discussion about social consequences of unrestricted
    > linking that was interesting and important, but I won't rehash them
    > here.
    > Some thoughts:
    > 1. The link server is, in my opinion, of greatest immediate interest
    > to
    > the project. Many of its requirements seem to overlap with ours, with
    > some limitations and quirks. For example, the thumbnails are an
    > interesting feature, but I wonder if the bandwidth and storage
    > overhead
    > is worth it.
    > 2. The plug-in is a win, but it's not necessarily the short-term
    > direction
    > that the core project should move in. The link server would enable us
    > to
    > move in a number of directions, from browser plug-ins to proxy servers
    > to
    > custom clients. There's a lot of room for evolution here. At the
    > meeting, Lee said that he would like to see a Nelson-style
    > transclusion
    > view of links and documents (where documents are displayed side by
    > side,
    > with lines showing the interconnected links). I see no reason why
    > such a
    > view is not possible using BrowseUp's underlying system; they just
    > haven't
    > built it yet.
    > 3. I think collaboration is highly desirable, and a reasonable
    > possibility. Alon seemed genuinely interested in seeing link
    > databases
    > pop up all over the world, and seemed open to the possibility of open
    > sourcing parts or all of their system in order to enable this (and
    > collaborate with us).
    > What are the next steps? I know Doug is pursuing the collaboration
    > angle,
    > but there are certainly things that we can do in the meantime. The
    > best
    > is to just try using the tool. I think there are many things we can
    > learn
    > about some of its fundamental linking features and about BrowseUp's
    > own
    > implementation of these features, which could lead to:
    > - a refinement of requirements for the OHS
    > - formal usability studies, which could also help refine
    > requirements
    > (part of the coevolution strategy) as well as serve as a
    > marketing
    > vehicle for some of the OHS's features. (i.e. "Studies showed
    > that
    > link typing improved productivity by 512%.")
    > The plug-in is available from, and I'm sure
    > Alon
    > and company would welcome feedback.
    > -Eugene
    > --
    > +=== Eugene Eric Kim ===== =====
    > ===+
    > | "Writer's block is a fancy term made up by whiners so
    > they |
    > +===== can have an excuse to drink alcohol." --Steve Martin
    > ===========+
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