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((((((((((((((((( WEBREFERENCE UPDATE NEWSLETTER ))))))))))))))))) May 24, 2001


This newsletter is sponsored by: WebTrends Informative Graphics and by Wireless Developers Seminar


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This week we review Tim Bray's newest creation, Visual Net. Using standards like HTML, HTTP, XML, and JavaScript Bray's company Antarcti.ca creates virtual maps of cyberspace. To demonstrate their technology they've created a virtual map of the Open Directory Project, in 2- or 3-D. Read on to find out more about this promising new technology.

New this week on WebReference.com and the Web:

1. FEATURED STORY: Map the Net 2. OTHER VOICES: * Introduction to CSS3 Working Draft Published * Talking to Computers * Digital Renaissance: Convergence? I Diverge 3. NET NEWS: * IBM 'PixieDust' Boosts Drive Capacity * Internet Firms Have Lost Shine For New Grads * OnePage portal strengthens data links * Lavish launch for 'Pearl Harbor'

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 1. FEATURED STORY: Map the Web

Founded in 1999 by XML co-inventor Tim Bray, Antarcti.ca's Visual Net software transforms networks into places. Visual Net creates general-purpose, large-scale maps of networks to help users visualize data and find what they're looking for. Visual Net gives the Web form, a place, in the company's words "a location and elevation." Now there's a there, there.

To demonstrate their technology Antarcti.ca has created map.net, which is a visual representation of the Open Directory Project. (http://www.dmoz.org) You can navigate through the hierarchy in 2 or 3 dimensions. A little like "Map of the Market" the 2D view shows topic areas as colored rectangles, and sites as bullseyes. Each is sized according to popularity and size.


Visual Net utilizes DMOZ's RDF database, XML, JavaScript and automatically creates a map of the network that's been Antarcti.cized. Here's how it works.

When a map is accessed:

* The Web browser interacts with Antarcti.ca through an XML (Extensible Markup Language)-based XYZ protocol on the Web's HTTP protocol. An XYZ query is made up of a location and elevation; * The Antarcti.ca server delivers a description, encoded in XML, of the portion of the map visible from that location and elevation; and finally * The run-time user interaction is driven by a proprietary in-memory database custom-built for this application.

At a glance in either the 2- or 3-D interface you can see:

1. How popular the site is 2. How big the site is 3. Which sites have been personally recommended; and 4. Whether or not a site is the type of site you're looking for

In the 2-D interface (which requires only a browser and JavaScript) you can see:

1. Number of sites in the category 2. The largest subcategories: Music, Literature, Animation 3. The most popular sites: Internet Movie Database, TOEFL, MovieFone 4. Your category path 5. All the parallel subcategories 6. The size and number of subcategories within the subcategories

In the 3D view you can see:

1. The types of sites that are in this category 2. The sites that have been highly recommended 3. The four most popular sites, represented by the skyscrapers 4. Your category path 5. Your location within the map 6. The proximity of neighboring categories

The results are stunning, navigating through the Web's vastness is more natural and intuitive. Humans wayfind spatially, and by creating virtual landscapes for cyberspace Bray's company makes complex arrangements of data usable by the human mind. We're used to walking around the earth, and this technology makes the Web a similar experience. My favorite feature is the 3-D skyscrapers that represent popular sites.

While certainly ambitious, you can tell the program is still in its early stages, as my Mac IE5 spawned some JScript errors along the way. Despite these minor flaws, Antarcti.ca's technology can make surfing the Web less intimidating and more fun, as map.net demonstrates.

http://www.antarcti.ca http://www.map.net http://www.xml.com/pub/a/2001/05/23/bray.html - A Web Less Boring http://www.xmlhack.com/read.php?item=1230 -The Web moves too slowly

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 2. OTHER VOICES: Introduction to CSS3 Working Draft Published, Talking to Computers, Digital Renaissance: Convergence? I Diverge

>Introduction to CSS3 Working Draft Published

The CSS Working Group has released an updated Working Draft of Introduction to CSS3. This document lists all the modules in the future Cascading Style Sheets Level 3 (CSS3) specification. http://www.w3.org/TR/css3-roadmap/ W3C.org, May 23, 2001

>Talking to Computers

A keyboard, monitor and mouse are now standard devices on every personal computer, but that may change in the near future. http://sciam.com/explorations/2001/052101compu/ Scientific American, May 21, 2001

>Digital Renaissance: Convergence? I Diverge

Thanks to the proliferation of channels and the increasingly ubiquitous nature of computing and communications, we are entering an era where media will be everywhere, and we will use all kinds of media in relation to one another. http://www.techreview.com/magazine/jun01/jenkins.asp MIT Technology Review, June 2001

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 3. NET NEWS: IBM 'PixieDust' Boosts Drive Capacity, Internet Firms Have Lost Shine For New Grads, OnePage portal strengthens data links, Lavish launch for 'Pearl Harbor'

>IBM 'PixieDust' Boosts Drive Capacity

IBM said on Monday that it has found a way to mass produce a new type of magnetic coating for disk drives that will eventually quadruple the density of today's disk drive products by 2003. http://www.zdnet.com/intweek/stories/news/0,4164,2763924,00.html Interactive Week, May 22, 2001

>Internet Firms Have Lost Shine For New Grads

The Internet and technology sectors have lost some of their luster among college students who expressed renewed interest in working in more established industries, a recruitment survey showed Tuesday. http://www.techweb.com/wire/story/TWB20010522S0009 InternetWeek, May 22, 2001

>OnePage portal strengthens data links

OnePage Inc's MyWeb provides the capability to look into any data source and turn it into an XML feed for a personalized portal. http://www.zdnet.com/eweek/stories/general/0,11011,2763625,00.html ZDNet.com, May 21, 2001

>Lavish launch for 'Pearl Harbor'

Disney's blockbuster debuted with a lavish party on an American aircraft carrier in Hawaii. Don't miss the Pearl Harbor Web site. http://www.pearlharbor.com http://www.cnn.com/2001/SHOWBIZ/Movies/05/22/pearl.harbor/ CNN.com, May 22, 2001

That's it for this week, have a great holiday weekend!

Scott Clark Managing Editor, WebReference.com sclark@internet.com

Dan Ragle Assistant Editor, WebReference.com dragle@internet.com

Andrew King Newsletter Editor, WebReference.com aking@internet.com

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