A tool for maintaining multi-variant hypertext documents

  • Shueh-Cheng Hu
  • Richard Furuta
Part III: EP'98 Hypertext and the Web
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 1375)


With the increasing internationalization of the World-Wide Web comes a corresponding increase in the need for multivariant hypertext documents — families of documents with instances that are designed based on the same theme and structure but in which the content varies, being expressed in different languages to thereby be accessible in the reader's native languages. The different variants in the document family ideally share the same hypertext structure, called a consistent state, but require exceptions to handle variant-unique contents. As a practical matter, differing maintainer expertise in the supported languages often means that each variant is maintained separately from the others. In this case over time the hypertext structures of the different variants gradually deviate from each other, resulting in inconsistencies. We have developed a tool to aid authors in maintaining consistency within multi-variant hypertext documents. Our tool can traverse and compare multiple variants of a hypertext document simultaneously, report inconsistencies, and keep track of all updates that may cause new inconsistencies after consistent status has already been reached. We describe our experiences with the tool on a two-language Web site that we are maintaining. Our tool discovered previously unrecognized inconsistencies that had been in our Web pages for some time. Although it still can be enhanced further in many ways, with aid of the tool, a significant amount of time can be saved on maintaining consistency in multi-variant hypertext documents.


Hypertext multi-variant documents maintenance spider World-Wide Web 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shueh-Cheng Hu
    • 1
  • Richard Furuta
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for the Study of Digital Libraries and Department of Computer ScienceTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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