I just realized a way to write your web pages like E2 writeups, basically using the web to work much like Everything does.

What's the cool thing about writing for E2? (Aside from soft links; those I can't help you with) You can write linked documents without having to manage the links yourself. If you're writing and someone's name comes up in your text, you don't have to worry about whether or not there's already a node for that person: you just link to it, and either it's there or it will (presumably) get filled in eventually, by you or someone else. More significantly, you don't need to know what that node is called, either. You don't need its URL, you just need what you figure people will likely use to look for it, just some keyword. A person's name is almost always a good choice; the whole purpose of a name is to be a label for a person, so folks will look for information on that person under his/her name. Some other things might not be quite so easily labelled, but generally you can guess at a node name that's likely to be a good one for more information about whatever you're writing. What you don't have to do is look up, ahead of time, some obscure URL for the definitive page on whatever it is. The keyword you use is obvious and should work most of the time.

When writing a web page, you can't do that. If you're linking to something, you have to find it somewhere on the web and get its URL and link to that, or else write it yourself... or else risk having a broken link on your page. But there's nowhere near the simplicity of just saying "I'm sure there's some information about X out there somewhere, or there will be, and when there is I'll be ready for it." That's what E2 gives you.

But as I think of it... you can use search engines to get this functionality. I'm thinking of Google, which is overall an excellent search engine and usually will find you just what you're looking for, often as its top-choice page. They even have a button on their home page that lets you say "Just send me to the best page you can find on the topic." So long as Google's quality remains high, you can use Google to link just like you would on E2. Just make your HTML link point to:

http://www.google.com/search?q=WHATEVER&btnI=Y

where "WHATEVER" is the stuff you want to link to. Make sure you know how to encode it properly; learn the URL escaping protocol. That will send anyone who clicks on it straight to the page Google thinks is best for that subject. Google's not always right, but it can be a very nice partial solution.

OK, softlinks we won't get, but it's a start. I should start trying this.


Added September 11, 2000:

Here's a little PHP3 function I wrote to make making such a link easier:

  function glink($text,$kwd='') {
    echo '<a class=googlink href="http://www.google.com/search?q='.urlencode($kwd?$kwd:$text).
         "&btnI=Y\">$text</a>";
  }

Yes, I use Style Sheets, that way I can make the google links stand out from other links on my page, and have a little disclaimer about the lack of control I have over where they go.

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