Fifth International World Wide Web Conference

May 6-10, Paris, France

Session W8: Alternative platforms for accessing the WWW

Preliminary Summary

08.00-12.30 Monday 6 May

Tony Rutkowski, Chair

This was a ground-breaking workshop to consider for the first time the diverse new devices and access methods for the World Wide Web, and the various needs, issues, and problems associated with their scaling and use.

Workshop participants:
  1. Pierre Omidyar, General Magic, Inc.
  2. James Gosling, Sun Microsystems
  3. Ken Rhie, NetPhonic Communications
  4. Larry Masinter, Xerox
  5. Jennifer Schenker, Wall Street Journal Europe
  6. Dave Long, AOL
  7. Simon Klaiber, Artifex/Inside Online
  8. Tim Hyland, Oracle
  9. Martin Haeberli, Netscape
  10. Lucia Hicks-Williams, General Magic, Inc
  11. Jack Haverty, Internet Products Group, Oracle Corporation


Typically, less than five percent of user populations in major industrialized nations and enterprises have access to the World Wide Web - presently via a combinations of workstation and PC devices using LAN or dialup connectivity. Over the next several years, this percentage is likely to increase to near 50 percent through a panopoly of Personalized Digital Assistants, simple network computers, play stations, cellular and wireless devices, mini-displays, paper-based access, interactive voice response / voice synthesis services, fax machine access, modified television sets, cable television devices, and other means not yet envisioned. Some of these developments operate in concert with internationalization efforts and aids to the disabled.

The activity of this workshop and its recommended actions were directed toward enabling this scaling and the use of these devices by assisting content providers in supporting this undefined and broad array of new devices and access methods.

Recommended Actions