Summary: Active Pages: Intelligent Nodes on the World Wide Web
Henry Houh, Chris Lindblad, and David Wetherall
Telemedia, Networks and Systems Group
MIT Laboratory for Computer Science
31 March 1994
Active pages provide a common interface to World Wide Web applications, crossing browser,
platform and operating system boundaries. They are hypertext documents that present a front-end
to intelligent applications. Typically implemented as interpreted programs with an associated
database, they use the forms extension for application input.
There are three advantages to the active pages approach for application interfaces. Application
interfaces are widely accessible because they leverage off of the accessibility of the Web by using
HTTP to bridge application and interface. Applications are self-documenting. The hypertext
model of the Web makes it simple for active pages to contain embedded documentation and links
to auxiliary material. Finally, applications integrate seamlessly with the Web. Active pages may
be accessed in the same way and with the same browser as other pages.
In this paper, we present our active page design methodology and demonstrate it with two
examples from our server: WEBDNS, a facility for editing Internet Domain Name System
master files; and The People Directory, an editable personnel database that includes hypertext
links to biographical pages.