Re: Content, net-distribution aspects of VRML/Inventor/HTML/WWW

Mark Waks (
Fri, 30 Sep 94 15:31:19 EDT

Greetings from Justin. Sorry I've been so quiet lately; work has me
swamped. I just wanted to chime in briefly in support of Brygg's
"WWWAGroup" idea -- I think it's slightly more intuitive than the
WWWButton mnemonic, and I think he's pointed out a few good (if
perhaps not critical) issues.

Also, I want to toss out something for people to chew on. *Eventually*
(not in the initial releases, but not too far down the road), we're
going to want to support "transparent" anchors. That is, when someone
has the Net and CPU power to support it, there's going to be real
demand (I suspect) for cyberspace doors that you can see into. It's
going to make a big difference in making cyberspace feel seamless,
if people can see what's coming next. (Brygg's discussion starts
getting into this, but I suspect there's more to examine.)

The current WWWButton proposal is simply "click here to go somewhere
else", as I read it. It's functional, but quite limited. Consider that
the more common model, eventually, will be people simply navigating
around in space. Ideally, there shouldn't be "seams" -- you don't
click on something to exit the current scene graph and go into the
next, you just keep walking, and at some point you've moved into a
different URL.

I'm not sure what all the implications are, off the top of my head.
I believe it means that we will eventually want some sort of "portals",
planes which connect to reference anchors in other URLs.

(Which brings up another point: we're going to eventually want to have
multiple anchors defined in a given VRML file. I believe that
currently there isn't any way to say that a Web connection goes to a
particular camera in another URL, but we're going to eventually want
rooms with multiple entrances, as well as the easier multiple exits.
Actually, now that I think about it, there's an obvious syntax for
this: the URL "" would
hook to the camera named "my-camera" in "my-scene.vrml"...)

I'm not proposing this for right now; I think it's useful to start
doing experiments with more-or-less the stuff Gavin has proposed
(maybe the tweaked version Brygg suggests). But we should recognize
that this is really just a start, and begin thinking about the more
sophisticated connectivity we're going to want in the long run...

-- Justin
Who really ought to formalize his musings
on this topic into a proposal, but is
going to wait until *after* we've done
the first cut, so we don't get too

Random Quote du Jour:

"And David did see Bathsheba bathing and did exclaim 'Yum!'"
"And Jesus did say 'I....hurt.'"
-- from the King Chris Edition of the Bible, courtesy tyg