October 2006 | Burton Group Report - Hypertext and Compound/Interactive Document Models

December 7, 2006 · · Posted by Jordan Frank

Burton Group's Peter O'Kelly's report titled Hypertext and Compound/Interactive Document Models: Collaboration and Content Management Implications goes a long way towards explaining the benefits of and drive towards hypertext (a platform for blogs and wikis and more) as a backbone for collaborative work and communication. In the report, Burton Group says Traction TeamPage... "...comes closest to bringing the visions of hypertext pioneer Doug Engelbart to fruition, and that it is also a very useful leading indicator in terms of features other vendors will eventually add."

The report uses several Traction examples to illustrate the Hypertext Content Model.

In the report's synopsis, O'Kelly explains the concepts of hypertext and the how it can exploit compound and interactive documents models to benefit the user:

Hypertext is simply a better form-follows function fit (than print-centric approaches) for the way people actionally think and work. Compound documents facilitate focusing more on information work than on disparate technologies and tools, and foster more effective content management. Interactive document models are used to automatically and unobtrusively offer supplemental resources and actions in context, providing opportunities to more effectively leverage tools and metadata without disruptive context shifts.

In short, hypertext systems provide the most effective platform for information publishing and collaborative work. Traction's hypertext model combines multiple permissioned spaces that support collaborative editing in place (wiki style), collaboration over time (blog style) and a unique inline comment and permission model to capture communication in context.

Traction was inspired by the capabilities of 'classical' closed hypertext systems (NLS/Augment, FRESS, Xanadu, Intermedia, Notes, DynaText) which pre-dated the web, but required users to put everything the wanted to view and link within that closed system. And the only content you could link to was in the same siloed space versus Tim Berners-Lee's simple, open, scalable (but breakable) World Wide Web.

Unlike closed hypertext systems, Traction was built to work with the Web at every level: editing, publishing, browsing, linking, RSS/Atom syndication, search engine compatibility. But Traction's underlying Journal provides a secure, scalable space where internal links don't break, links can be followed in either direction, and fine grain comments, meta-data attributes, aggregated views, and faceted permissions just work. Blog and wiki's become presentation styles over a base which expands the capabilities of the ubiquitous web, see Weblog - the NLS Journal Revisited.

Traction can also display hypertext content using embedded page sections and dynamic multi-entry views while widgets display content from external sources or automatically link to external sources by tracking number, customer id or similar natural identifiers that people use every day.

See below for a Traction page section example of a compound document displaying all or part of the content from pages selected by tag match, content match, or other criteria. This example displays a snippet from other Burton Group papers which lead to the most recent report:

16 March 2005 | Blogs, Wikis, and Beyond: New Alternatives for Collaboration and Communication
(Full Report Requires Burton Group Login for Access) By Peter O'Kelly - "Blogs and wikis represent important opportunities for communication channels and collaborative workspaces... Because they are simpler to create and use than traditional enterprise-oriented alternatives, blogs and wikis are very effective for relatively basic communication/collaboration scenarios, and they’re also very ...
12 October 2004 | Burton Group - Communication and Collaboration: Compelling Convergence or Continued Chaos?
(Document Requires Burton Group Login for Access) - Peter O'Kelly lays out a vision of well integrated workspaces for collaboration and channels for communication. O'Kelly comments: Traction is as simple as a wiki (defined and described in “The Details”) in terms of getting started with a new workspace, but the depth of its metamodel makes Traction more robust for a wider range of ...

See also Blog1591: The Future of Work Platforms: Like Jazz
Blog936: Reinventing the Web
Beyond blogs and wikis
The Evolution of Personal Knowledge Management
Enterprise 2.0 - Letting hypertext out of its box
And here's what Enterprise 2.0 looked like in 1968 | Dealing lightning with both hands...