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Re: "BackFollow" ==> "Trace"
- To: <acad!HQ!Joel_Voelz>
- Subject: Re: "BackFollow" ==> "Trace"
- From: Bob Perez <bobp>
- Date: Mon, 12 Feb 90 09:39:34 PST
- Cc: <xanatech>
As you can see from other messages in this thread, "backfollow" is not simply
the traversal of the last link. In fact, it doesn't appear to the frontend
developer to involve traversal of any links, and that's the problem with the
In Xanadu parlance a "follow" operation involves traversal of a link in any
of the directions available (i.e., from where you are to the next forward
reference, or, from where you are now to the last place you were, and so on).
"Backfollow" has come to mean "determine what references there are to this
document". Typically, an application uses "backfollow" to determine one of
two things: what links point to the document of interest, and what other
documents in the world share material with this document. The application can
then use the information obtained via "backfollow" to actually "follow"
any of the links so determined.
My latest suggestion, "Find Links", doesn't capture that part of the operation
which returns all documents sharing information with the subject document, and
"Find References", while more accurate, seems too tame. You and Michael have
both offered good suggestions for the "follow" operation (respectively, "Trace"
and "Traverse"), but I don't think "follow" needs any improvment. It's the
"backfollow" that needs clarification. Rick suggests that I may be making too
much out of the potential for confusion, and hopefully he's right. But I
wonder if most people approaching the system will be as careful in their
thinking as Rick, particularly if they haven't had the benefit of months of
xtech mail to provide context for our use of "backfollow"?
Hugh has made the excellent point that finding links and finding other
documents which share information are really the same fundamental operation
at a deep level within the system. Nevertheless, it's useful to keep the
conceptual difference alive because of the apparent distinctions. And because
I've always liked the unique capabilities suggested by "backfollow", I've
started using "Backreference" in its place. I think Rick's comments apply on
this use of "back", and I think the combined term still suggests the full
power of the operation and is more accurate in the process.
So, off to Search & Replace. "Backreference" it is.