John C. Mallery
Artificial Intelligence Laboratory
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Keywords: HTML3.0, Interactivity, Technology, Servers.
A World-Wide Web (WWW) server was implemented in Common LISP in order to facilitate exploratory
programming in the interactive hypermedia domain
and to provide access to complex research programs, particularly artificial intelligence
systems. The server was initially used to provide interfaces for document
retrieval and for email servers. More advanced applications include
interfaces to systems for inductive rule learning and natural-language
question answering. Continuing research seeks to more fully generalize
automatic form-processing techniques developed for email servers to operate
seamlessly over the Web. The conclusions argue specifically that
presentation-based interfaces and more sophisticated form processing should be
moved into the clients in order to reduce the load on servers and provide more
advanced interaction models for users. More generally, the rapid prototyping
features of Common LISP are now available to the WWW research community for
quick mock-ups to test out new ideas.
The paper is structured as follows:
- Motivations: The Introduction
discusses the motivations for developing a Common LISP HTTP server.
- Server: The design ideas embodied in the server are overviewed
in the sections:
- Applications: Screen snapshots
show variety of applications, ranging from
document retrieval and form-processing email servers to artificial
intelligence applications, such as automatic rule induction and natural-
language question answering.
- Programming Language: Several sections provide background on Common LISP, its object system,
and the Common LISP Interface Manager.
- Related Systems: A system for distributing documents via email
is briefly reviewed in the COMLINK section
because it uses the Common LISP HTTP server as a WWW interface and because it
embodies form-processing technology useful for the Web.
- Recommendations: The Conclusions
recap an argument for extending HTTP/HTML form-processing with design
concepts tested in the Common LISP Interface Manager and
the COMLINK system.
The First International Conference on The World-Wide Web, Geneva:
CERN, May 25, 1994.