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15 Future Developments

This handbook describes how to run a WWW service using the technology which is available today. However the technology is developing so rapidly that it is important that WWW managers and information providers are aware of developments which may happen sooner rather than later.

Uniform Resource Identifiers

Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) describe the location of a resource on the Internet and the protocol which is used to access the resource. An object on WWW may be available in many locations: for example popular browsers, such as NCSA Mosaic, are available from anonymous FTP servers in many locations around the world. The mirroring of files helps to minimise network traffic over busy links, such as the trans-Atlantic link. Mirroring also reduces the load on the central server. Uniform Resource Names (URNs) will provide a mechanism for uniquely identifying a resource. In the future it is likely that a browser will request a URN rather than a URL. A URN to URL resolver will locate the nearest object (nearest in network terms).

Uniform Resource Characteristics (URCs) will provide meta-information about a document. This information could include information about the author, keywords, expiry dates (for caching servers), copyright and cost information. URCs could also provide information about the quality of the document. For example a seal of approval (SOAP) could be given by university publications group which confirms, by the use of a digital signature, that the document is a PhD thesis.

Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs) includes URLs, URIs and URCs. The URI specification is available as RFC 1630. The mailing list uri@bunyip.com is used to discuss URIs. Send email to uri-request@bunyip.com to subscribe to this list. Archives of the list are available at the URL http://www.acl.lanl.gov/URI/archive/uri-archive.index.html

New Facilities


NCSA Mosaic For X (version 2.5) provides support for CCI (Common Client Interface). This will provide a standard mechanism by which WWW browsers can communicate with external programs. A number of demonstrations of this facility are available, including a slideshow program, which instructs Mosaic to display URLs which are specified in a file. A program called xwebteach provides a mechanism by which a teacher can control the display of Mosaic on student's machines. Further information about the CCI specification is available at the URL http://www.ncsa.uiuc.edu/SDG/Software/Mosaic/Docs/cci-spec.html


W3A (World-Wide Web Applets) is a proposal for a standard API for dynamically linking applets (which can be defined as a piece of software that can be attached to a host program such as a WWW browser). Further information is available at the URL http://www.let.rug.nl/~bert/W3A/W3A

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