[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Author Index][Date Index][Thread Index]

Request for Some Enlightenment re Ted's Position on Files/Directories

I realize that Ted is quite busy, and that he gets LOTS of silly questions all the time, but could he spare a moment to set me straight on one Xanadu issue that I've pondered over the past few years until I get headaches! ;-) I just can't see how to operate w/o files/directories.

> Hierarchies and files must not be part of the mental structure
> of documents.

I understand why they're BAD, but I don't understand how to do without them. I've watched many non-technical people struggle with filenames, paths and drives. But hierarchy is SUCH a pervasive concept within information management circles; rows, shelves, volumes, et. al.

[1] if documents don't have (file)names, how do I return to them later? How do I tell friends to go read them? How do I put references to them in magazines and books? How do I advertise them on TV and billboards?

[2] what replaces the web's URL space? With the (admittedly hierarchical) URL, I can print out the reference; I can read it to a friend over the phone; I can manually modify it and navigate around the server's structure in order to find other things/repair lost things.

*Within* a (Xanadu) browser, you could eliminate/hide URLish refs, but how does Xanadu deal with external, non-browser handoffs of document references, without using SOME form of hierarchy? Certainly the URL hierarchy doesn't have to correspond in any way to the storage mechanism, but still it seems a useful concept, but then I'm a techie born and bred in file hierarchies.

In your _Literary Machines_ book, tumblers are used, but those seem to be a form of filename albeit a string of digits. They are like ISBN numbers for a publisher, and hard to read over the phone or scribble (reliably) on paper. No one is ever going to put them in TV ads.

Also the original vision for tumblers of server.owner.document.position would seem to be a hierarchy itself; one which, as a developer on the Udanax-Green code, I've struggled to deal with and thought that it imposed an unnecessary rigidity on (meta-)document organization.

> All these fundamental errors of the Web must be repaired.

Agreed, and I'm still working toward that goal...

Jeff Rush