Re: Netscape 4.5

Dan Brickley (
Thu, 16 Jul 1998 10:05:24 +0100 (BST)

On Wed, 15 Jul 1998, Terence Sin wrote:

> ps. the "What's Related" feature is the Alexa surf-engine that I was
> talking about a few days ago.

Not necessarily (at least in Mozilla/Nav.5; perhaps v4.5 is hardcoded).

Mozilla seems to have a notion of one or more 'SmartBrowsingProviders'
identified by URI and specified as RDF statements in the browser's
configuration file. When the browser feels a need to find related links
w.r.t. the current URI, a very simple query is made to each bureau:

eg. "" asks a
related-links bureau for related links about the W3C site.
Results are returned as an RDF graph encoded in XML.

Bandwidth-guzzling concerns aside, this is quite an interesting approach
compared to simply hardcoding an Alexa applet into the browser UI. It's
basically a simple version of the PICS Label Bureau model extended to
use RDF.

There's an example navcentr.rdf config file on the Mozilla site, that shows the basic setup...

RDF snippet (using the abbreviated version of RDF syntax):

<Topic id="NC:SmartBrowsingProviders">
<child href=""
name="Who points to me?"
<child href="" name="Related Links"
resultType="TEXT/RDF" />

So you'd switch Alexa or whoever on as related-link services by writing
their details into this graph. More (sketchy) SmartBrowsing docs at

A couple of questions bugging me about this...

- will all these extra http requests add significantly to web traffic?

- does the smart browsing model encourage vast ugly & monolithic 'all of
the web' indexes (Alexa, Altavista etc) or could we assemble useful
SmartBrowsing services from a federation of smaller metadata bureaus,
each holding quality catalogue entries for a few thousand URLs
appropriate to some subject area.

thinking out loud,


ps. here's the response from a smartbbrowsing query of
"". Don't know whether
they're doing this using Alexa or some other database, but the links don't
seem all that closely related to me:

<aboutPage href=""/>
<child href="" name="Netscape Open Studio for site builders"/>
<child href="" name="Hwg"/>
<child href="" name="Ietf"/>
<child href="" name="Internic"/>
<child href="" name="Eff"/>
<child href="" name="The White House"/>
<child href="" name="Epic"/>
<child href="" name="Welcome to the Linux Home Page"/>
<child href="" name="Computer"/>
<child href="" name="Ieee"/>
<child instanceOf="Separator1"/>
<child href="" name="Search on this Topic..."/>