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7. About Hypertext

7.1. Wikis

Wikis are a most fascinating manifestation of web-based groupware.

"Wiki wiki" means "quick" in Hawai'ian. They call the shuttle at the Honolulu airport the wiki wiki bus.

Wikis were invented by Ward Cunningham, and are a way of allowing users to update web pages in a highly collaborative way:

7.2. Gopher

Gopher Manifesto

Before "the web," there was Gopher. Gopher provides a rather simpler operating paradigm; where web folk have been struggling to turn HTML into a form rendering language and/or Desktop Publishing system, Gopher stays with the notion of having a clear hierarchy of Files (documents) and Directories (providing opportunity to jump to a new list of documents).

The "train wreck" of competing HTML standards that frankly continues would certainly go along with the "Gopherians" contention that they had something simpler and more useful. Gopher is not particularly well-suited to "e-commerce" applications, but most certainly is good for searching for information.

7.3. Vannevar Bush and the Earliest Roots

It would be criminal to not make mention of the overall originators of the concept of hypertext. It was certainly not the lawyers of Microsoft that invented the notion.

Vannevar Bush came up with the original concept of having a "crosslinking of concepts." His idea predated modern computers, and so did not directly envision current implementations. He instead expected to see a very sophisticated mechanical card filing system. This is not at all unlike the crosslinking of web pages; only the physical expression really differs.

7.4. Ted Nelson and Project Xanadu

Ted Nelson coined the term "hypertext," and had a vision ( Project Xanadu ) that in many ways exceeds what has actually been implemented. His model involves (amongst other things) the following components:

The original vision, now thirty years old, has still not yet been fully implemented. Partial implementations include:

7.5. Media and Marshall McLuhan

Understanding how the web and related technologies are, can be, and should be used is a task of understanding the use of Media. The person that first communicated a coherent understanding of the use of media was the late Marshall McLuhan.


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