July 22, 2012


At a conference in the mid ’90s, I was admiring the gracefully curved links that Dr. Dr. Norbert Streitz was demonstrating in a view of his latest system, SEPIA or, perhaps, DOLPHIN. I believe this was the first time that bezier curves had been used for links in a real hypertext map. It looked great, and we soon fell to talking about implementation details.

This no longer happens much. Streitz was already a VIP, and you don’t often see VIPs doing demos anymore. (Senior people do present posters at Web Science, but that’s pretty unusual.) And we almost never talk about implementation these days. It’s a shame, and it’s bad for our systems.

Anyway, Streitz suggested that what would really be nice would be to update all the Bezier-curved links during a drag. “Won’t that be way too slow?” I wondered. He shrugged. “It might be. It won’t always be.”

This afternoon, some fifteen years later, I added this feature to Tinderbox 6.

detail of a Tinderbox map by J. Nathan Matias and Mark Anderson