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

[xanadu] The sunless-sea.net meta-cyber-archaeology project, and Xanadu back-ends

To all to whom these presents shall come, greetings!

My name is Chris White and I am new to the Xanadu list.  I have been
interested in Xanadu since reading Ted's BYTE Magazine article
"Managing Immense Storage" many years ago and have a well-thumbed copy
of Literary Machines on my shelf.  I work as a patent agent so am
painfully familiar with the need for versioning, transclusion, and
bidirectional linking.  I also have nearly thirty years' programming
experience, so am approaching 10,000 lines of MS Word VBA written to
automate the tedious parts of my job.

I think a xanalogical document system would be valuable even if the
user never saw it.  Hacking MS Word documents involves knowing the
side effects of the function calls you make.  Changes one place in the
document can silently break fields or text elsewhere in the document.
And don't get me started on the difficulties of writing macros that
work with all the permutations of whether or not changes are tracked
or visible!

By contrast, a system carrying formatting in the links on the bytes
would localize changes and greatly ease document automation.  Even for
a single, static word-processor document with no links outside itself
--- and even if the user never knew what was under the hood ---
xanalogical storage and representation would save the world countless
hours of MS Office add-in programmer heartache every year.

Has there been any discussion of using Xanadu as a storage engine in
this or other ways?  Since I'm coming late to the party, I am hoping
you smart folks know some pitfalls to avoid if I sit down to try
something (in my copious spare time, of course :/ ).

To get started, I visited sunless-sea.net to refresh my memory of
Xanadu internals.  I was dismayed to find that it was both down and
missing from archive.org.  Thankfully, Berend van Berkum had saved a
mirror of the plain text (many thanks, Berend!).  I have converted it
to HTML it in a coarse way and am please to present, in hopes that it
helps, an active mirror at https://cxw42.github.io/ .  Pull requests
are welcome for additional content.  Somebody's (whose?) paper on the
Ent is now back live with its full-color illustrations!

I look forward to discussion and to any thoughts anyone has on
xanalogical storage engines or on the sunless-sea mirror.  Thank you
in advance for welcoming me to the list!

Christopher White