Round Trip Woes
At Hypertext '02, I had a long and fascinating discussion over Guiness, much noise, and the NBA finals with Frank Shipman and Gene Golovchinsky (at right), exploring issues of interoperating hypertexts. This is a hot topic in research right now, and also hot in the weblog world because Dave Winer's OPML is a distributed system and is built into Radio Userland.
A key problem is interchange: moving, for example, from OPML to Tinderbox and then to OPML again. Golovchinsky has great ideas for ensuring that two systems can pass data back and forth unharmed, even if they don't know much about each other. Shipman, on the other hand, argues that it's a hopeless proposition; different systems are different media, and round-trip interchange is as hard as going from a book to a movie and then adapting the movie into a book.