Hypermedia applications in BETA

Kristen Nygaard, Joergen Lindskov Knudsen, Elmer Sandvad, and Kaj Gronbak, University of Oslo, University of Aarhus
kristen@ifi.uio.no, jlk@daimi.aau.dk, ess@daimi.aau.dk, kgronbak@daimi.aau.dk

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University October 20, 1995


The World Wide Web is often considered the leading edge in hypermedia. But the WWW concept with embedded jump addresses comes short in several areas: it requires special data formats; it is not well-suited for dynamic linking while you're reading; it does not support collaboration well since linking requires write access to pages. In contrast a so-called anchor-based approach in line with the popular Dexter Hypertext Reference Model. is better suited to handle such issues by keeping links separate from the document contents.

The DEVISE group at University of Aarhus has developed an anchor-based hypermedia service, called DEVISE Hypermedia (DHM), which supports: 1) dynamic linking in text graphics, sound, pictures, video, etc.; 2) open link service for the users' favorite applications; 3) cooperation on shared information.

The service is implemented by means of an open object-oriented application framework with generic classes for links and other standard components in hypermedia. The framework implements and augments the concepts of the Dexter Hypertext Reference Model. It applies an object-oriented database (OODB) to store the hypermedia objects separate from the contents of the base documents being interlinked.

DHM has been developed in a participatory design process and it is currently in pilot use in a large engineering company supervising bridge construction. The company has evaluated the system over a 3 month period and it is now being used by the Quality Manager to investigate efficient ways to organize the maintenance documentation for the bridge.

The talk will introduce the notion of anchor-based hypermedia and discuss its advantages/disadvantages compared to the WWW. Then the DEVISE Hypermedia framework is introduced with focus on providing open linking services to users' favorite applications. A demo of the use of DHM to make a hypermedia enhancement of applications like Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Bentley's Microstation CAD system is given.

For more information on BETA, see <http://www.daimi.aau.dk/~beta/>


Kristen Nygaard is Professor of Informatics at the University of Oslo. Together with Ole Johan Dahl, he developed SIMULA, the first object-oriented language. Nygaard was instrumental in creating the Scandinavian research and applications community in participatory design in the late sixties, and has continued work on object-oriented analysis, design and programming, including participation in the design of the languages Delta and Beta.

Kaj Gronbak is an Associate Professor at the Computer Science Department, Aarhus University, Denmark. His research interests include: Development and use of hypermedia and object-oriented database technology; tools and techniques for cooperative (participatory) design; system development with object oriented tools and techniques; user interface design and prototyping; Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW);

[Biographies for other speakers not currently available]


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