I proposed a range of possible projects for myself, one of which was Hypertext, and another of which was analyzing physics data using object-oriented systems and NeXTStep. But why were you so hot on Hypertext? I felt that we needed to be able to do more than just produce something and then output it on paper; we needed to be able to navigate within it. There had been this project called CERNDOC, which was a system completely based on VM, CMS, and the IBM. It was sort of a hierarchical system in which you could search for documentation, get a document out, and then maybe print it. But I felt that the whole thing should have been hypertext-based, or that we should at least look into what could be done with it. I thought that we could maybe even do things on the network, but I had not thought of the Internet.
If you can instantly edit, you don't need URLs? Right. You start out by writing your own set of documentary pages on your local disk. Then you would click your insertion point in the browser. Like in every good application, if you wanted to put the insertion point, you'd click once. If you wanted to make something work or to follow a link, you clicked twice. There was no distinction between editing mode and browser mode. We lost all that along the way. What we see now is mostly inflated rubbish. So you lost that because you decided to release it to the public? We lost it because we couldn't port it easily from NeXTStep. Writing an editor is much harder than writing a passive browser. The guy who brings out a passive browser spreads it faster, but it's not necessarily better for the user. For want of an editor, the web was lost...
Interview with RC