Abstract: Comprising support for large engineering enterprises provides an example of the need for hypermedia-based collaborative computing systems composed of a large number of distributed heterogeneous tools. These computing environments place complex requirements on the underlying hypermedia platform. To support integration of independently written tools for these environments, hypermedia platforms must address several important issues such as scalability, openness, distribution, heterogeneity, interopability, extensibility and computation.
This paper describes the Hyperdisco approach to open hypermedia systems. HyperDisco provides an extensible object-oriented hypermedia platform supporting intertool linking, computation, concurrency control, notification control, version control, access control, query and search, and various other features. The present work has two main objectives: 1) to provide a platform to integrate existing and future distributed heterogeneous tools and data formats and 2) to provide a platform to extend integrated tools to handle multiple collaborating users and multiple versions of shared artifacts. The paper presents important dimensions of hypermedia platforms that helped to formulate the goals for HyperDisco, the HyperDisco prototype, and two integration examples to illustrate the distinctive features of the HyperDisco approach.