George P. Landau
The morning started with a speech by George P. Landau on the development of the Victorian Web – a hypertext that started way before the Web. His basic premise: “the World Wide Web is essentially Hypertext 0.5.” I like it.
Stuff he mentioned about older hypertext systems:
- One to many links – he really likes it
- Previews of the target
- Marking (highlighting) the relevant passage of a link target
- Incoming and outgoing links
- Concept map integration (eg. a graphic site-map)
- Overlapping link anchors
- Multi-window environments that permit both spatial hypertext and collage writing
- Read-write medium (add links & texts) – apparently this is the only thing that wikis reintroduced!
- Multiple versions of hypertext – personal and shareable; essentially links are stored separately from the text and can therefore differ between versions.
- Backlinks – he really likes that, too
- Backlinks also apply to named anchors, so it would show you a list of documents linking to your current document, and it would highlight the documents that had links to the particular region you’re currently at.
- Eastgate's Storyspace – also makers of TinderBox (the conference chair, Mark Bernstein is “Eastgate’s chief scientist”
- Southampton's Microcosm
He also went into the question of why the web turned into a killer application. He started with benefits compared to Gopher, continued on to embedding images, and mentioned some wiki benefits. These include wikis being a read-write form hypertext, wikis enabling intended and uninteded collaboration, enabling multiple points of view, offer expandable or extendable documents, allows for different hypertext genres, simultaneous emphasis on multiple approaches and unresolveable problems. Apparently a point of view not shared by Wikipedia.
The Victorian Web is actually not a wiki. It’s a website where the author encourages contributions via email. He doesn’t believe that the delay between submission and publication is a problem. Collaboration and discussion turn out to be submissions of separate but linked documents. This gives his site a static and stable appearance. Documents just… stay. A totally different contribution and discussion culture compared to what has developed on wikis.
- Architectural Component of Hypertext Systems – This is chapter 5 from Jakob Nielsen’s book Multimedia and Hypertext: The Internet and Beyond, Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, 1995.
- When a Wiki is not a Wiki – introduction to the keynote
- The Lively Kernel: A Wiki of Active Objects – introduction to the keynote.
- SVG editing was already on my mind in 2006 (2006-08-31 Oddmuse and SVG Files) and the problem is still not solved. I’ll have to look into this Lively Kernel thing!
Too bad I didn’t find any really interesting sessions today. There was a session on the state of WikiCreole, companies hiring wiki gardeners and reportings on their excellent results. There was a session on distributed wikis collecting pitfalls but not finding any solutions.
I also spent some time sitting in the sun, doing nothing. I didn’t feel like listening to paper presentations because I usually feel that the authors aren’t good presentors.
There was an excellent bus trip through town, a boat trip up and down the river, and dinner at a restaurant. That really gave all of us another opportunity to talk to new faces, and so I ended up talking a lot with Christoph Sauer & Andreas Gohr (JPS Wiki, Doku Wiki, Wiki Matrix), Alain Désilet (multilingual wikis, WikiSym organisation in general), and others.
Too bad I apparently missed some excellent paper presentations.
Gah, I can’t find a good SVG → PDF tool that I could install at my webhoster. I downloaded the svgtopdf module from the InkScape svn repository, installed PDF::API2 in my home directory, and tried it.
alex@mirabel:~$ svgtopdf < test.svg > test.pdf Can't call method "value" on an undefined value at /home/alex/lib/perl5/SVG2/ToPDF.pm line 57.
It seems that the library requires a height and width of the document to be specified. Ok, try again…
alex@mirabel:~$ svgtopdf < test.svg > test.pdf Creating a page: 1600, 1200 Unknown Object Found 'defs' Unknown Object Found 'use' Unknown Object Found 'use' Unknown Object Found 'use' Unknown Object Found 'use'
Gah! That’s the central idea behind the SVG I’m generating: I define each hex only once, and then rely on the
use element to assemble the map. (2007-06-02 Hex Mapping)
There’s a svg2pdf that is part of Cairo which works more or less. I built it on my webhost machine. I downloaded, configured using
--prefix=/home/alex, compiled, and installed the following from source:
- libsvg 0.1.4
- cairo 1.4.6
- libsvg-cairo 0.1.6
- svg2pdf 0.1.3
Building required me to set
PKG_CONFIG_PATH=/home/alex/lib/pkgconfig, and running requires me to set
Why am I not 100% happy? Somehow the PDF output doesn’t look too good. The aspect ratio is wrong, I think.