Particle physics experiments of the current and next generation are large and complex technical projects involving hundreds of physicists, engineers and technicians over several years. Such large projects require a substantial effort in technical documentation that is produced at several sites, integrated and made available to all members of the collaboration.
The WWW is well suited for the delivery of technical documentation - access to the information is easy through the universal hypertext interface, a unique and up to date master copy can be accessed by several users from different locations, and heavy cross-referencing between multiple documents may easily be hyperized.
Our group participated from the beginning to the development of the basic WWW technology, so we have been able to apply it to the documentation of our own products. The manuals of the ER programming system, ADAMO, originally in LateX, were moved to FrameMaker in 1993, and transferred to the web.
In 1994, we developed WebMaker (tm), a generic configurable converter from FrameMaker to HTML, applied to several CERN documents. In the past, it has also been licensed to more than 3000 sites. We defined WebLinker (tm), a linker of webs, together with Nikos Drakos from Leeds University, the author of LateX2html. We also started exploring the use of hypertext to document the complete life cycle of a software project with LIGHT, LIfe cycle Global HyperText.
In February 1995, CERN signed a technology transfer agreement with Harlequin Ltd, who will continue the development of WebMaker. Harlequin intend to launch a fully supported commercial product within a few months. All rights to WebLinker have also been transferred to Harlequin.