Hypertext Guru Has New Spin on Old
17.Apr.98.by James Glave
1960 Ted Nelson's designs showed two screen windows
connected by visible lines, pointing from parts of an object in one window to
corresponding parts of an object in another window. No existing windowing software
provides this facility even today.
1965 Nelson's design concentrated on the single-user system
and was based on "zipper lists", sequential lists of elements which could
be linked sideways to other zipper lists for large non-sequential text
1970 Nelson invented certain data structures and
algorithms called the "enfilade" which became the basis for much later work
(still proprietary to Xanadu Operating Company, Inc.)
1972 Implementations ran in both Algol and Fortran.
1974 William Barus extended the enfilade concept to
1979 Nelson assembled a new team (Roger Gregory, Mark
Miller, Stuart Greene, Roland King and Eric Hill) to redesign the system.
1981K. Eric Drexler created a new data structure and algorithms
for complex versioning and connection management.
The Project Xanadu team completed the design of a universal networking server
for Xanadu, described in various editions of Ted Nelson's book "Literary
1983Xanadu Operating Company, Inc. (XOC, Inc.) was
formed to complete development of the 1981 design.
1988XOC, Inc. was acquired by Autodesk, Inc. and
amply funded, with offices in Palo Alto and later Mountain View California.
Work continued with Mark Miller as chief designer. ..
1992 Autodesk entered into the throes of an organisational
shakeup and dropped the project, after expenditures on the order of five million US
dollars. Rights to continued development of the XOC server were licensed to Memex,
Inc. of Palo Alto, California and the trademark "Xanadu"
was re-assigned to Nelson.
1993 Nelson re-thought the whole thing and respecified Xanadu
publishing as a system of business arrangements. Minimal specifications
for a publishing system were created under the name "Xanadu Light", and Andrew
Pam of Serious Cybernetics in Melbourne, Australia was licensed to
continue development as Xanadu Australia.
1994 Nelson was invited
to Japan and
founded the Sapporo HyperLab...