Hypertext

Change

In response to:
http://wordpress.liquid.info/10/change-is-expensive/frode/

This is why I am happy to piggy-back on PDF and WordPress/HTML and web standards such as Linked Data Notifications.

PDF really, truly, needs to be sunset. It is only holding us back.

WordPress is excellent for content self-publishing and much can be built on it. At the same time, it is an older codebase with some inherent limitations that I suspect will present some obstacles to more advanced interaction architectures. I personally swore off PHP years ago.

Web Standards including Linked Data Notifications are the future when it comes to implementation AND they largely do not specify the necessary design patterns for the kinds interactivity that we (the hypertext community) are looking for. The techies have built the technical infrastructure, which is all well and good, but we need more inspired user experience design based on something other than making people better/happier consumers.

 We can implement technologies behind the scenes but I am very wary of anything that requires user setup.

100% agree. We have to build tools for the masses.

 I am also not trying to tie together commercial or emerging standards such as Hypothesis or dokieli

I likewise do not find these existing solutions adequate to realize our (and Ted Nelson’s and Douglas Engelbart’s) vision. However I do think a general and interoperable solution (such as a protocol or design pattern) is important to create the tools which will yield a systemic shift in people’s capacities and relationship to technology.

 What I feel I have to focus on is polishing and polishing the actual end-user process of authoring in Author and reading in Reader, while supporting open standards for richer interactions and richer interoperability, hence Visual-Meta and Citation Meta

Totally!

 1. Change is expensive so only change what really needs to be changed

I would add: Change is expensive so build systems that make change cheaper

Commercial services are not likely to last a thousand years, all companies go out of business

Yes, it’s really important that we are developing services and protocols for the commons. That said, any project needs funding to be sustainable. Not an easy problem to solve.

Respect the actual user workflow

Yes! Always.

I really have problems with PDF (it’s frozen!) and WordPress (over-reliance on professionally/paid themes) but you go to the market to sell, you don’t shout outside the castle walls.

Yes. It’s not difficult to find those who stayed too wedded to “pure” ideas and failed to adopt enough of a pragmatic stance to make an impact. Such a balance.

2 Comments

  • skreutzer

    Isn’t PDF quite fine for printing? What specifically are the inherent limitations in WordPress caused by its older codebase? I guess you’re aware that WordPress isn’t necessarily an “interaction architecture” and why should it, what’s the point of abusing a tool for the wrong job? Why did you swear off PHP and what are you using instead?

    Heh, I’m sort of searching for a long time now to find the hypertext community somewhere, but it seems to not be around or active any more. Lots of web communities, but hypertext? Not to speak of a hypermedia community, I’ve never heard that such a thing exists at all, apart from individuals. I’m also not aware of decent technical infrastructure above the networking stack, would like to learn more…

    Tools for the masses, like in “knowledge worker masses”?

    Oh, well, I don’t know. I mean, I’m not an expert with deep knowledge and study of Nelson’s and Engelbart’s systems, but from what can easily be picked up, I don’t think that particular capabilities as potentially powered by Web Annotation would be inadequate, it’s just that their vision is much larger and has a certain system design we’re completely lacking and don’t really improve on. Therefore indeed you’re spot on with a general and interoperable architecture design. That’s also quite some work and non-trivial in the overall operation, while most its parts would likely be simple enough.

    • Raine

      > Isn’t PDF quite fine for printing?

      Yes. As a designer/scholar of interactive texts, I’m just excluding my analysis from anything that gets turned into paper.

      > What specifically are the inherent limitations in WordPress caused by its older codebase? I guess you’re aware that WordPress isn’t necessarily an “interaction architecture” and why should it, what’s the point of abusing a tool for the wrong job?

      Submitting posts requires a refresh. Viewing updates requires a refresh. So WordPress is not really made for real-time dialog/interactivity. It may be possible to stretch it, but I completely agree with your suggestion of not using the wrong tool for the job.

      > Why did you swear off PHP and what are you using instead?

      I can and do use WordPress as a user, but as a programmer I find PHP less enjoyable and less expressive compared to functional programming languages. I use Javascript which suits me well, although I have dabbled with Elm and PureScript.

      > I’m sort of searching for a long time now to find the hypertext community somewhere, but it seems to not be around or active any more. Lots of web communities, but hypertext?

      I had a lovely first experience at the ACM HyperText conference this year. 88 very dedicated and creative folks. There is some distribution of interests, but I was surprised/impressed with how true they have stayed to the pre-Web vision of Hypertext (a la Engelbart, Nelson).

      Thanks for your comment!

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