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[ih] FTP Design

Noel Chiappa <jnc at mercury.lcs.mit.edu> wrote:
> I look back on all the work on Archie, Gopher, WAIS, etc, etc and think
> 'Goodness gracious, how was it not obvious to us that we needed the WWW
> (with explicit links in documentation)?' There were a lot of smart
> people working on the Internet at that stage, but nobody saw it.

I read somewhere (but I have forgotten where, sorry) that some of the key
features of hypertext as seen in the 1980s were come-from links, and some
kind of "which pages link here" feature. Neither are easy to implement in
a very loosely coupled distributed system. TBL's great insight was that
a much simpler hypertext system would still be useful enough provided it
could link to any existing stuff out there on the net.

There is a bit more to it than that, though, because gopher made the same
simplification of one-way links, but it lacked hypertext and multimedia
and multiprotocol URLs, and its design was unable to grow beyond the
constraints of 1980s computing.

f.anthony.n.finch  <dot at dotat.at>  http://dotat.at/
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