The first meeting of the Working Group on Distributed Authoring on the World Wide Web was held on July, 10, 1996, at the offices of America Online (AOL) Productions, 2600 Campus Drive, San Mateo, California, USA. The main objective of this meeting was to provide a forum where people interested in fostering interoperability between distributed web authoring applications could meet, exchange information about the current state of the art and practice, identify key interoperability issues, and formulate an agenda for achieving interoperability.

While there are many tools on the market (e.g., SoftQuad HotMetal Pro 2.0, Quarterdeck WebAuthor 2.0, Adobe PageMill 1.0, InContext Spider 1.1) which provide a graphical user interface for the authoring of HyperText Markup Language (HTML) format files and layout of associated graphic content, these tools require the user to have direct access to the physical storage of the name space served by a HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) server. This effectively limits the use of these tools to computers connected to a local area network (LAN) containing the physical storage. In contrast, an emerging class of tools (e.g., Microsoft FrontPage 1.1, AOLpress/AOLserver 1.1) allow users to save their work directly to an HTTP server, affording a style of work where authors are located remotely to the HTTP server hosting their content. This second class of tools, known as distributed web content authoring applications, were the focus of this working group.

Meeting participants included members from the IETF HTTP Working Group, the World Wide Web Consortium, the document management community, software configuration management companies, distributed web authoring tool vendors and researchers, and the academic hypertext versioning community. This wide range of expertise resulted in very detailed and considered discussion of issues concerning distributed web content authoring.

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I (the organizer) would like to thank Dave Long of America Online for arranging the conference room at AOL Productions, and for his in-meeting support. I would also like to thank Ron Fein, Henrik Frystyk Nielsen, Dave Long, and Andy Schulert for their insightful presentations, and to all participants for their thoughtful discussion.

Irvine, California, July 23, 1996

Jim Whitehead

University of California, Irvine
Jim Whitehead <>
Department of Information and Computer Science
247 ICS2 #3425
Irvine, CA 92697-3425

Last modified: 23 Jul 1996