Re: Annotation support

"William M. Perry" <>
To: David Martland <>
Subject: Re: Annotation support 
In-reply-to: Your message of "Fri, 09 Jul 1993 10:23:26 +0100."
Date: Fri, 09 Jul 1993 08:50:58 -0500
Message-id: <>
From: "William M. Perry" <>
Status: RO
Thus wrote: David Martland

>Support for Annotations is not (as far as I know) part of the current
>HTML standard, since it is not really a property of the source text,
>but rather of the Browser.  I notice that NCSA's Mosaic is currently
>providing private annotations, and is about to provide group and
>public annotations. This is a good idea, although the annotations are
>o n a "per Window" basis, which may not be ideal - it could be better
>if the annotations are l inked more closely to sections of text -
>perhaps by having "annotation anchors" in the margin, which link to
>the annotation text

  Personally, I like the way that Xmosaic does annotations.  They are
clearly marked off from the main body of the document, and easy to
add to documents.  (one thing lacking is support for an external
editor of some type - Marc?)

  I just finished adding the group annotation support to my emacs
browser last night - was pretty trivial.  And it wouldn't be hard at
all to support multiple servers using different protocols.  Should
there be some sort of function HTMakeAnno(url,type,...)?

>   There is an additional problem with annotations, not addressed in
>Mosaic's implementation, since it may be desirable to allow
>annotations on annotations! I do not believe that Mosaic does this.

   I'm pretty sure it will allow annotations on annotations on
annotations.  The group annotations are just URLS, and the server
(according to Marc Andreesen) does no checking/manipulation of the
urls before fetching the annotation.  (Which means http://somehost:80/
is different that http://somehost/, but I think all browsers should
send a fully qualified URL anyway, but thats just my 2 cents)

>However, although it might appear that annotations are "simply" a
>property of the Browser - the problem does not end there. The way
>NCSA have done it is to provide annotation servers - this then
>raises the possibility of different Browsers using the same
>annotation server. This would be beneficial to many users, since
>there would then be no requirement to adopt a particular browser
>package - for example I could communicate using Mosaic on my Unix
>system, and someone else could annotate my text using Cello on an
>IBM PC etc.

   I've strived to maintain compatibility with xmosaic in any way I
can think of with my emacs browser.  Supports the mosaic hotlists,
global history, and just recently the group annotations (and am
working on the private annotations).  I think all the browser
developers should do this.  Xmosaic is the best of the browsers in
most respects, and there should definitely be compatibility between
the browsers.  Would be stupid of me to put annotation support into my
emacs browser, when only the other 100 or so people using it would be
able to see them.  Remember: _WORLD WIDE_ web. :)

>It seems to me that there is a need for consideration of annotation
>services, and how to provide them.
>I think this is an issue which needs wider discussion - if it has not
>had it a lready.

   I'm hoping it will be on the table for discussion at the W^5.

-Bill P.