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Old, forgotten HTTP replacements?

Joel's article got me thinking about hypertext replacements.

Does anyone remember Hyper-g or VRML?

I remember Hyper-g floated around in 1995 or so and then disappeared shortly after. It was a creation of the IICM and the idea was to improve HTTP; add more request methods and incorporate the organizational power of the Internet Gopher protocol and add direct support for all sorts of multimedia. The result was big, web-like network rich with graphics and sound, navigated using bidirectional hyperlinks so that objects could be displayed in a giant directory tree or as stars in the sky or as whatever you wanted. I remember reading about it in an old issue of Byte magazine that billed it as the successor to the Web, and the official hypertext FAQ for alt.hypertext still makes mention of it as well as IICM's commercial implementation, Hyperwave.

To be honest, I could never quite figure out how this hyper-g thing worked and I never saw it in action. The specifications were many and quite hard to come by. Hyper-g seems to have never really gotten off the ground.

Then there's VRML. IE apparently supports it, and supposedly there's actual Web sites out there offering virtual reality content for it, but I myself have never run into one. The first place I heard of VRML was in Windows 98 in a Nutshell, and I really haven't heard much on it since.  I wonder why everyone seemed to think virtual reality was the next big thing back then.

Anyway, does anyone know of any other?

What would happen if Richard Linklater became of Vampire?
Saturday, June 19, 2004

wais, veronica, gopher, and jughead. I guess the key
to winning was to combine good enough access,
with good enough  configurable presentation, and
good enough extensibility.

son of parnas
Saturday, June 19, 2004

VRML failed because there was no benefit to it beyond "Oooooh, 3D!"  I disinctly remember the feeling I got the first time I saw a large website constructed in VRML: why am I doing so much walking between web pages?  There aren't many situations where a 3D representation of the relationship between entitites is actually helpful.

Justin Johnson
Saturday, June 19, 2004

I don't remember VRML when it came out (far too young!); and for most applications I agree that the 'wow' factor is fairly short lived, and the advantages limited (check out and see what i mean!).
I'm reconstructing a street in Oxford using VRML for my MA - if you're interested... Site is under construction until late september; let me know what you think, a worthwhile visual guide, or a pretty waste of time?

Neil Durbridge
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

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