The Electronic Labyrinth


LinkWay was originally developed in late 1987 by Larry Kheriaty at the University of Western Washington's Western Educational Software Tools Centre. Kheriaty's goal was to implement a HyperCard-like environment for DOS PCs. IBM, through their Educational Systems Division in Atlanta, licensed the software, releasing it in 1989. We evaluated LinkWay 2.0.

Rather than use HyperCard's card/stack metaphor, LinkWay refers to each screen as a page. Pages are grouped in folders. This concept of the folder is not to be confused with Mac file folders.

LinkWay works on minimal DOS systems, in graphics modes from CGA through VGA. It supports mixed text and graphics with sound, animation, and video disc control. A mouse is required.

LinkWay supports reference, note, and command links from either text, graphics, or invisible anchors. Text on a page may scroll. Rudimentary though serviceable text, icon, and paint editors are provided. Security is available through a password system and access rights assignable on a folder by folder basis. Simple history (ten items) and search functions are the only navigation aids.

The scripting language offers only minimal functionality: forty commands, five functions, twelve system variables, basic operators. The only control structure is an IF...ENDIF; this is not sufficient for structured programming. Scripts may not be assigned to any interface object except the special script button. The language provides only partial support for functions accessible through the menu. LinkWay suffers here in comparison with HyperPad.

The main benefits of LinkWay are its minimal hardware requirements and free runtime (215 KB in size). It is more suitable for slide-show and CAI applications than hypertext, due mainly to its poor text editing features.

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© 1993-2000 Christopher Keep, Tim McLaughlin, Robin Parmar.
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