Interactive HTML (revised)

869683 Gillespie Brandon James (
Mon, 23 Oct 1995 13:54:27 -0600

As mentioned earlier in my previous message, we are working on an
interactive environment. We are in the final stages, but have hit
a snag in the interactivity part. The following is a brief explanation
of what we are working on. This is a plea to find out what a
preferential usage would be. I personally prefer the second model, as
it is easier for beginners to understand and is not too intrusive.

Comments and suggestions of ANY type are greatly appreciated, we are
suggesting the following models due to the lack of finding anything
similar already existing. If it does, please let us know!

Interactive HTML varies from static HTML in that it is used with an
interactive session. Usually when viewing an HTML document it is true
hypertext. Clicking on a hot spot will change your view, pulling you
deeper into another area. However, when on an interactive login you do
not usually want this. Clicking on a hot spot should have a reaction,
but you generally want your basic shell to stay as it is.

The clients may vary in their reactions with an Interactive HTML
environment, but in general activating a static hypertextual hot
spot (i.e. a regular HTML anchor) would spawn a new window where the
static information is contained within, externally from your normal

However, with interactive environments the functionality of hot spots
can be further extended to actions which cause reactions from your
environment, possibly changing the environment itself. For instance,
if you were in a room which was dark, and there was an action to
"turn on the lights", you would click on the action and your environment
would change, as you would probably get a message stating that your
turned on the lights, and the room would change, becoming illuminated.

Markup of hot spots could be obtained by simply using the class
attribute to specify the difference between an action and other regular
links, such as:

You can <a href="url" class=action>turn on the lights</a>.

However, since an action is contained to the environment you are
within, this approach would also require the addition of a new URL
scheme (perhaps "local:turn on lights"). Another approach could be
to add another attribute to the anchor. Rather than using href, an
action attribute could be specified, such as:

You can <a action="turn on lights">turn on the lights</a>.

This has the advantage in that two attributes are not required, as the
usage of the action attribute implies it is an action.

Note: It is assumed that Interactive HTML is parsed using a model where
incoming text is chunked by blocks either terminated with CR, or grouped
within <html> containers. The end of a block or <html> container resets
all containers For Content-type seperation from static html the MIME type