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01.07.15    ( d12a
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THE NEW XANADU® STRUCTURE FOR THE WEB

Today's one-way hypertext-- the World Wide Web-- is far too shallow.  The Xanadu project foresaw world-wide hypertext and has always endeavored to create a much deeper system.  The Web, however, took over with a very shallow structure.  Our simple, but very different structure-- for details see "The Xanadu Model"-- allows--
  UNBREAKABLE LINKS.
  COPYRIGHT SIMPLIFICATION AND SOFTENING.
  ORIGIN CONNECTION.
TWO-WAY LINKS.
  SIDE-SIDE INTERCOMPARISON.
  DEEP VERSION MANAGEMENT.
  INCREMENTAL PUBLISHING.
How can this be?  Very simple, but very different.
The Xanadu model has always been very simple: make content available with certain permissions; then distribute and maintain documents simply as lists of these contents, to be filled in by the browser (in the same way that browsers now fill in GIFs).

Since the advent of the Web, our last several years have been concerned with figuring out how to move these concepts to the very different standards environment that the Web has imposed.

One new design, underway in collaboration with David Durand, is now being written up by him.  It is unrelated to the previous Xanadu code.  (Further details will be presented at the HT01 Hypertext Conference in Denmark, August 2001.)

The new design consists of:

A new file type for virtual content (tentatively called .VLIT, Virtual Literary Format)
Servers delivering portions on request (using existing protocols)
Editors for the .VLIT file
(Later) Browser plug-ins for intercomparing .VLIT files, showing their differences side by side.
The Xanadu copyright model-- now called "transcopyright"-- takes a little more explaining.

The political fight against the weight of today's standards and methods is enormous.  But what we are trying to do is clear up the problems that these standards, and the present way of thinking, have created.