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Toward Support for Hypermedia on the World Wide Web
January 1997 (vol. 30 no. 1)
pp. 62-70

As organizations rush to embrace the World Wide Web as their primary application infrastructure, they should not bypass the benefit of hypermedia support.

Many organizations will embrace the World Wide Web as their primary application infrastructure. However, in the rush to acquire and retrofit Web applications, they risk bypassing the Web's greatest supplemental benefit-hypermedia.

Hypermedia lets you add, access, and navigate links in textual and multimedia information. With hypermedia features, Web applications can provide clearer information, and they can be easier and more effective to use than traditional applications. We foresee a hypermedia-influenced era in which users will expect (and application developers will provide) browsing and supplemental linking in all applications.

However, some of the latest technologies may actually make it difficult to provide hypermedia features on the Web. For example, Java applets, which read and display some arcane binary data format as input parameters, will recreate the well-known problems with proprietary and unreadable data formats. Applets that create independent connections with a server application could provide shared-screen collaboration and other two-way communication, but they would require an independent and as-yet-undeveloped connection protocol that will not necessarily support hypermedia, rather than the standard HTTP.

Furthermore, even if designers agree that supporting a broad range of hypermedia features is desirable, they will need appropriate methodologies and tools. If designers must wait for these methodologies and tools, they may lose interest in using them and, therefore, in supporting hypermedia features. Thus, developing appropriate methodologies and tools quickly is imperative.

Citation:
Michael Bieber, Fabio Vitali, "Toward Support for Hypermedia on the World Wide Web," Computer, vol. 30, no. 1, pp. 62-70, Jan. 1997, doi:10.1109/2.562928
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