For all its power, the Web is still a one-to-many medium, with authors controlling all text that appears on their sites. But now there’s a system aimed at allowing members of Web-based communities to publish information on each others’ pages-making the Web as easy to write as it is to read.
Researchers led by principal scientist Eric Bier at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center are testing Sparrow Web, a program that improves on standard Web servers by making each item on a page editable. The software provides forms where users can enter data and see it appear on the same page. PARC researchers have been using Sparrow Web for several years to manage projects, schedule events and the like. PARC is releasing an evaluation version of Sparrow Web for beta-testers and has trials under way at several technology companies and educational establishments.