RE: ACTION-434: Some notes on organizing discussion on WebApps architecture

A perspective on deep linking into applications:

When you organize information to be made available as "hypertext", you actually have to
figure out how to break it up, lay it out, and make it available in a way in which it
can actually be linked to. It's a design problem.

This is also the case with web applications, not just web text.

It seems like we are asking the question, for arbitrary applications, "how can
I link into a particular application state." But applications actually have to
be designed so that the application state is linkable. 

Many web applications haven't been designed in a way that the application state
is restorable, so that the URL of the "application state" at any particular 
time *isn't* showing something in the address bar that can be saved, restored
later, etc. Sometimes remembering application state doesn't actually make much

But we should look at this more as an application design issue, and less as
a URI or fragment identifier or something else issue.  I don't think it's really
worth attacking the problem of taking an application that wasn't designed to
be linked into and linking into it.


-----Original Message-----
From: Appelquist, Daniel, VF-Group [] 
Sent: Wednesday, October 13, 2010 3:45 AM
To: Larry Masinter;;
Subject: Re: ACTION-434: Some notes on organizing discussion on WebApps architecture

Hi larry - very much agree with the below. I think another key issue which you allude to is that of linking between web applications. One of the "things that is broken" right now with the increasing use of applications and web applications on mobile devices is consistent linking / bookmarkability. In an mobile app, you are contained within the walls of this app for the most part and your navigation choices are limited to what the app can offer you. One differentiator of the Web vs stand-alone Apps should be to allow webapps to (deep) link to other webapps and to allow these (deep) links to be bookmarked.

Technologies like appcache and widgets muddy the waters a bit by making it less clear how to link into a webapp. Perhaps this could become the the basis of a TAG finding on "webapp linking best practice"? However I think we would need to seek input from (eg) the webapp working group on this point.

Daniel Appelquist
Vodafone Group Research & Development
Mobile: +44 7748 111635

----- Original Message -----
From: Larry Masinter <>
To: John Kemp <>; Jonathan Rees <>
Cc: Appelquist, Daniel, VF-Group; tag <>
Sent: Wed Oct 13 01:19:17 2010
Subject: RE: ACTION-434: Some notes on organizing discussion on WebApps architecture

The "global hypertext network" has become a "global hyperlinked application

Originally, when we thought of hyperlinking "text", we might consider
linking from a book or article to its references.

But now, we're linking from an application that allows users
to collaborate about products, services, travel, into applications
that let you buy products, pay for them, reserve at hotels, etc.

So "hypertext" has become "hypermedia" has become "hyperapplication".

Before the web, "hypertext" was thought of as a closed system where
the whole hypertext corpus came from a single source and hyperlinking
was coordinated. The "web" opened this up so that different publishers
of information could link to each other readily.

The "web application" infrastructure allows applications to link
to each other, and we're still at the infancy of this space -- there
are many practices, and very little agreement on what constitutes
"best practice".

I think an "architecture" for web applications would identify what the
issues are for reliable interoperability among disparate applications,
examine some of the use cases, issues and solutions.  Issues around
security, privacy, reliability, extensibility, upgrading, saving state,
and so forth ... 


-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of John Kemp
Sent: Tuesday, October 12, 2010 11:07 AM
To: Jonathan Rees
Cc: Appelquist, Daniel, VF-Group; tag
Subject: Re: ACTION-434: Some notes on organizing discussion on WebApps architecture

Hi Jonathan,

On Oct 12, 2010, at 10:26 AM, Jonathan Rees wrote:

> High-level rant, the result of my puzzling over the nature of our
> applications work. Sorry if this is low content, but I wanted to post
> it before the F2F.

Thanks for posting, as this question has been also puzzling me for a few days as I work on my own Web Apps-related actions. I found this very helpful in motivating my thinking.

> One thing that makes the "web architecture" design successful is that
> it is an architecture *of* something, namely a global hypertext
> network. That characterization sets the scope nicely and sets terms
> under which it can be evaluated and judged.
> I think it would help a lot if we knew, in this round of work, what
> sort of thing was supposed to have architecture. Are we talking about
> an application-enriched hypertext network? A rich client/server
> application platform?  A globally distributed computing platform? I
> don't know, but I have a feeling that if we don't set some boundary
> we'll spend a lot of time wandering around unproductively. If we're
> going to boil the ocean, I at least want to know *which* ocean.
> As we look beyond "global hypertext network" it might be helpful to
> look at historical precedents of platform scope expansion. For
> example, Unix was a beautiful and successful operating system for
> PDP-11s, but suffered growing pains when it went to 32 bits. Those
> pains didn't make it any less successful in its new domain, but growth
> obliterated the original design, and the mutually incompatible
> architectures that arose to replace the old one were always
> compromised by the need to support the original.
> I think the same kind of thing is happening now; the global hypertext
> network architecture is in danger of disappearing under the crush of
> applications. Choices being made now are determining the architecture
> of the new order.
> The new application-enriched Web is a bunch of things, self-organizing
> without overall vision. That is probably as it should be. If we can do
> anything at all other than maybe making it a better bunch of things (a
> salutory goal but unrelated to architecture), it would be to
> articulate what kind of system we would ideally like to see and then
> identify practices that do and don't promote that kind of system. To
> state what's obvious to those on www-tag, this "kind of system" is one
> that's not only technically sound and meets current needs, but also
> promotes broader social and economic aims.
> A start would be to review desirable system properties (starting from
> previous discussions, the W3C mission statement, AWWW, etc.) and
> cross-check against these notes to identify points of harmony,
> friction, or puzzlement.

I have attempted to describe three interaction examples that may or may not exhibit properties of Web apps architectural additions at (related also to ACTION-355, Tracker) I hope that these may be helpful in our related discussions. 

I go back and forth on whether these examples truly describe anything new, but if they do, one item is perhaps the notion that a "client" may expose a resource (its location, for example) to the Web in a non-traditional way (via a call to a Javascript API, rather than by acting itself as an HTTP server). Architecturally-speaking, I am not still sure what else is really different from what is already in AWWW -- rather than simply additions to that architecture which were always available, and sometimes used, but not described in any detail. 


- johnk

> Jonathan
> On Fri, Jun 4, 2010 at 12:29 PM, Appelquist, Daniel, VF-Group
> <> wrote:
>> I've put together some rough notes that I hope to continue to flesh out over
>> the weekend:
>> Basically this is a laundry list with links to existing work from John,
>> Ashok and Noah. If there is other work we should review let me know and I
>> will add links here. I think it will be useful to go over some of the
>> existing work and then to step back and say "what are we trying to achieve"
>> here. I also think we need to look at what has happened outside of the W3C
>> community on WebApps Architecture and solicit some support from the
>> community.
>> Some of these notes are necessarily colored by the work in WebApps wg, Geo,
>> and DAP that I have been involved with.
>> Thanks,
>> Dan

Received on Wednesday, 13 October 2010 13:58:23 UTC