May 13, 2004

First Hyperfiction System Nears Release

Karim Shehadeh writes
"Columbia, MD - The first database-driven hyperfiction engine is
approaching beta release. Built on PHP, MySQL and several other open-source projects, StoryStream is itself an open source project and invites any interested parties to participate in its improvement.

StoryStream is a collaborative hyperfiction system built on PHP and MySQL technology. It employs a variety of open-source technologies including Smarty (http://smarty.php.net), phpBB2 (http://phpbb.sourceforget.net) and phpBB Fetch All (http://phpbbfetchall.sourceforge.net/).

The term hyperfiction is an offshoot of the term hypertext which was coined by Ted Nelson in 1965:

"Hypertext means forms of writing which branch or perform on request; they are best presented on computer display screen."

At the time, his invention fell short due to technological barriers. With the advent of the Internet, though, his inspiration became a reality. Until now, hyperfiction has not broken through into the mainstream. While references can be found throughout the web, the implementations are static and vary dramatically. Also, there appears to be no good system for allowing multiple authors to collaborate on a single work anonymously. This is, in part, due to the technologies behind the implementations that existed before StoryStream.

StoryStream takes advantage of the latest technologies to embrace the Internets potential. Any registered member can create a story or contribute to an existing one. Stories are divided into scenes and scenes are connected via forks. Authors can add a scene or fork to any story to extend or embellish the work already there. An open review and classification system allow visitors to dictate which scenes and stories will ascend in popularity. In this way, StoryStream is a self-organizing and self-maintaining hyperfiction system. Content that is submitted to StoryStream can be legally protected by any of the Creative Commons (http://www.creativecommons.org) licenses. Additionally, the written word is not the only media accepted: images, music and flash animations are accepted as well.

We were motivated to create an open system like this one because we felt there was a dearth of collaborative creativity on the web. Creativity abounds in the individual content released, but we believe that the Internet can be and should be more than a billboard on which to advertise oneself. With StoryStream, we are attempting to form a hub through which authors and artists can work together to create.

The StoryStream Project website is hosted through the generosity of SourceForge: http://storystream.sourceforge.net. A website powered by the StoryStream engine is available right now at http://www.iwonderdesigns.com/storystream. StoryStream itself is currently in alpha but is rapidly nearing beta (feature freeze). We expect to complete new features by June 2004. iWonder Designs is seeking a critical mass of visitors to the StoryStream site. This is necessary to run the system through its paces and insure the final release is as complete as possible.

  ABOUT IWONDER DESIGNS iWonder Designs is a sole-proprietorship that designs and develops websites and creates easy-to-use applications for Windows. In the past three years, iWonder Designs has shifted its focus to web development and open source. Currently, two of iWonder Designs web applications are hosted on SourceForge.net: StoryStream (http://storystream.sourceforge.net) and WebCanvas (http://sourceforge.net/projects/webcanvas), a website content management system developed with PHP and MySQL."

Link: StoryStream.sourceforge.net

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