Advanced authoring systems
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Today the typical use of the the Web is to browse information in a largely read-only manner. However, the original view of the Web was as a readable and writable collaborative medium enabled through distributed authoring technology. This fact was not lost on anumber of developers of remote authoring tools and people interested in extending the Web for authoring.
The WEBDAV group have been working to produce an interoperability specification which defines HTTP methods and semantics to enable the remote authoring functions. Work has focussed on three documents:
- Scenarios - which gives a series of short descriptions of how distributed authoring and versioning functionality can be used (typically from an end-user perspective).
- Requirements - describing the high level functional requirements fro distributed authoring and versioning including rationale.
- Protocol specification - which describes new HTTP methods, headers, request bodies and response bodies, to implement the distributed authoring and versioning requirements.
WEBDAV is a Working Group within the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and works cooperatively with the World Wide Web Consortium.
URL: WEBDAV http://www.ics.uci.edu/~ejw/authoring/
URL: brief introduction http://www.ics.uci.edu/~ejw/authoring/intro.html
URL: WEBDAV working group http://www.ics.uci.edu/pub/ietf/webdav/
WebDAV (Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning protocol), one of the earliest adopters of XML, enables distributed authoring and collaboration. XML.com using a presentation given at the DevCon 2000 event as a basis, outlines the benefits of WebDAV, its future development path and how it can be used today. 28/11/00
- The US's National Industrial Information Infrastucture (NIIIP) consortium is applying agents in workflows in manufacturing
- AIIM is developing a reference model for workflow management
- University of Georgia Large-Scale Distributed Information Systems Laboratory
A book and linked web site describing the work of the UK Open University's Knowledge Media Institute has recently been launched. Entitled: "The Knowledge Web: Learning and Collaborating on the Net", the site includes an overview and synopsis of the book, along with links to resources referred to, in the published text.
IBM, Unisys, and Oracle, along with a number of other software vendors have have propsed the XML Metadata Interchange Format (XMI) specification which is at the heart of the companies' plans for interoperability between application development software. According to a press release, "the three companies have also demonstrated how disparate development tools and environments can interoperate using the new specification".
The XMI proposal, submitted to the Object Management Group (OMG), is intended to give teams of developers working with object technology, and using a diverse set of tools, the ability to exchange programming data over the Internet in a standardized way. The release concludes: "XMI aims to make the eXtensible Markup Language (XML) - integrated with the OMG's Unified Modeling Language (UML) and Meta Object Facility (MOF) - the cornerstone of an open information interchange model". Other initiatives feeding into the XMI work include:
- metadata work carried out by groups within the Electronics Industries Alliance. These groups cover different domains of information exchange solutions for the electronics industry and include the Electronic Information Group, guardian of CDIF, DAD, EDIF, EIDX and IAD.
- development of the Common Warehouse Metadata Interchange (CWMI) standard by OMG.
- The Meta Data Coalition's metadata interchange specification (MDIS) - see news item below.
See also the Metadata, Interoperability and standards (XML) topic sections on this site.
URL: XMI http://www.software.ibm.com/ad/features/xmi.html
URL: XMI http://www.marketplace.unisys.com/products/urep
URL: OMG http://www.omg.org
URL: Electronic Industries Alliance http://www.eia.org/
URL: Electronic Information Group http://www.eigroup.org/
"Web-Based Tools for Document Annotation" is a new, 19-page brochure by the European Commission's Interactive Electronic Publishing group. Request free copies, giving your postal address, from the email below.
A comprehensive guide to web conferencing software includes coverage of: Forum Software; BBS Software; Internet & Intranet Groupware Software for Virtual Communities; Message Boards; and Collaborative Workgroups. The site does not include web software for text-based, asynchronous group discussions such as real-time chat, video, or audio conferencing which are pointed to under the "related resources" section. The software covered is classified by whether it is commercial, freeware and proprietary. There is additional links to resources, product reviews and articles.
TWiki web is a web based collaboration tool. TWiki looks and feels like a normal Intranet or Internet web site. However it also has an Edit link at the bottom of every topic (web page). The edit link enables users to change a topic or add content through their web browser. There is a public TWiki installation at the Python web site where you can surf and add/change content to get an idea of how TWiki works. TWiki is a cgi-bin script written in perl. It reads a text file, hyperlinks it and converts it to HTML on the fly. For further information concerning the application and to download the software visit the web site below.
The Java Media Framework (JMF) specifies a unified architecture, messaging protocol, and programming interface for media players, media capture, and conferencing. The Java Media Player APIs support the synchronisation, control, processing, and presentation of compressed streaming and stored time-based media, including video and audio.
The Java Media Player APIs are being developed by Sun Microsystems, Silicon Graphics, and Intel. Version 1.0 of the Java Media Player API Specification is now available.
"Scripting News" provides regular commentary on cross-platform scripting issues. Recent coverage has centred on XML and it's implementation. The editorial is backed with useful links to primary sources.
URL: at: http://www.scripting.com
Multimedia FAQ from Jamie Siglar
Nightkitchen are looking for multimedia publishers to beta test a new package TK3. The authors are ex-Voyager and the package is designed for delivery-medium independence.
The August 1996 Communications of the ACM has a main theme of 'New paradigms for computing'. An article entitled "Drawings on napkins, video-game animation, and other ways to program computers" describes Pictorial Janus a language with drawings as source code, and ToonTalk a language with video-game animation as source code. The PJ site at the University of Paderborn gives news about developments going on there and points to the Xerox Parc ftp site from which the software and examples can be downloaded. Technically speaking, Pictorial Janus (PJ) was developed by Kahn and Saraswat (Xerox PARC, 1989). PJ is a complete visual programming language based on the concepts of the parallel, constraint-oriented textual programming language Janus. The ToonTalk site also allows a beta test version to be downloaded, and has an entertaining set of descriptions of the project from different perspectives.
URL: Pictorial Janus http://www.c-lab.de/~wolfgang/PJ/
URL: ToonTalk http://www.toontalk.com/
A leader in the June 1997 issue of IEEE Multimedia reported on a number of novel art applications which have embedded computing in their environments.
- Aaron, a knowledge-based programme, developed about 20 years ago generates art autonomously. Whilst perhaps not as developed as Pictorial Janus (see above) it provides a further example how "ideas" may be expressed through a programming language.
- A project entitled: My House is Your House examines the relationship between information and space, a concept which is currently poorly articulated and hence represented in current virtual reality environments.
- The Digital artist-in-residence program places artists alongside developers in their Western Research Lab to see whether by working together they can "jump-start new ideas and heighten creativity". Bytes of Art, is the more tangible result of combining an original user interface with online art. The artist-in-residence Barbara Lee, has created a set of "boxes", essentially large chambers, which allow groups of people to experience, and alter, this new form of art. This isn't static art in the traditional sense - the "viewer" becomes part of the art, bringing it to life and affecting it through sensors in the floor and walls as they explore the realms of music, visual art, and literature.
In a paper entitled: "Domain Specific Languages for ad hoc Distributed Applications", Matthew Fuchs postulates a framework to enable truely "ad hoc cooperative transactions on the Internet, combining human and computational entities together". His paper is based on the premise that the current framework makes a fundamental distinction between human agents (who use HTML) and computational agents, which use CORBA or COM. He proposes Domain Specific Languages (DSLs) as a means to allow all kinds of agents to "speak the same language". The approach adopts ideas (and syntax) from SGML/XML, especially the strict separation of syntax and semantics, so each agent in a collaboration is capable of applying a behavioral semantics appropriate to its role (buyer, seller, editor).
MONDO is a general architecture for encoding, modeling, and processing information, and is the result of evolving and integrating descriptive markup (like SGML/XML) with object-oriented information modeling.
The developers of the MONDO design document claim it has been especially designed for building information from human-readable text files to enable sophisticated machine-interactions with that information. The developers suggest that architecture and its implementations could support:
- structured document management
- object serialization and interchange
- hypertext and WWW sites
- literate programming
- program properties and localization
- data creation and backup for information systems
The architecture is programming language independent with the developers claiming implementations in Java, Perl, and Smalltalk.
URL: MONDO project http://www.chimu.com/projects/mondo/
URL: design document http://www.chimu.com/projects/mondo/design/mondoDesign.pdf
Comparisons of the performance of different content capture systems and reviews of products such as Adobe Acrobat, Textbridge and Omnipage can be found at the OCR lab of Tony McKinley.
The National Technology Alliance is a US government and industry supported site which aims to: "provide the best commercial solutions available for the task of collecting, exploiting, disseminating and archiving of data".
Founded in January 1999, the Game Theory Society aims to promote the investigation, teaching and application of game theory. Game theory studies strategic interaction in competitive and cooperative environments. It develops general mathematical formulas and algorithms to identify optimal strategies and to predict the outcome of interactions.
Current members include world-leading experts in game theory and its connections to economics, mathematics, statistics, political science, evolutionary biology, computer science, experimental psychology, sociology, and anthropology. 14/04/00
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