PROPOSAL: "W3A" - a client-side applets API

Bert Bos <>
Date: Fri, 24 Jun 1994 14:19:45 +0200
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From: Bert Bos <>
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Subject: PROPOSAL: "W3A" - a client-side applets API
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After several false starts, including forays into FIFOs, TCP, and X
events, I have finally found a model for WWW `accessories' that looks
simple, yet powerful.

The current state of my ideas can be found at


It is an interface (API) between a WWW browser and `applets' which can
implement protocols, conversions, viewers, hotlists, and other
utilities. It is based on dynamic linking and a stream model (open,
read/write, close).

A browser must export 12 functions. An applet must export 2-7
functions, depending on its type.

Preliminary results show that a minimal browser (without a GUI of its
own) can be written in less than 400 lines, including the code for
dynamic linking. An applet for the Gopher or the HTTP protocol (sans
cryptography) takes about 200 lines.

Could this be the key to unleashing the myriads of ideas about viewers
and accessories that people have, but until now couldn't implement...?
Reactions, please!

                    / _   Bert Bos <>   |
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