Alph is a project to explore techniques and develop tools for a xanalogical Web.

System Overview

alph.js/DOCUPLEXTRON — Our client software, the DOCUPLEXTRON, is a zoomable 2.5D multi-document environment for reading, writing, and working with hypertexts.

alph.pyBecause we like to make things hard for ourselves, we're also writing a personal media server,, to publish documents along with Linked Data, and to provide some of the facilities that we've always thought essential to a proper hypertext system: chiefly, fragmentary media delivery and automatic back-linking.

<x-text>The essential thing we need for doing xanalogical documents in XML/HTML is a wrapper for Text nodes, which allows us to indicate a source for the enclosed text. In Alph, we're using an element called X-TEXT (for [x]analogical text)...

And since the world of fragment selectors on the Web is a corpse-strewn wasteland of motley dreck, we have chosen (and drafted – of course) a few that will best serve our purpose:

Alph Simple Selectorssimple numeric fragment selectors for addressing, linking, and transclusion of "flat" media — text, images, audio, and video streams.

XPointersFor addressing fragments of XML/HTML documents in Alph, we use the element() and range() XPointer schemes. These are some notes about our implementation.


Alph Status Update 2020-12-16

What a year.

If you lived through 2020 with the rest of us, then I don't need to elaborate.

If you've checked the tracker on GitLab[1] then you will of course have seen that there was no activity on the project between June of 2019 and December of 2020. Yikes! This isn't entirely true however, as I did work on documentation, specifications, and design a little during that time – just no code.



Alph is based on Xanadu®, The Original Hypertext Project, conceived, conveyed, and coordinated by Ted Nelson for over a half century. Ted's sites,,,, and now are invaluable resources for understanding the history and concepts behind this system.

I believe in Xanadu. And I believe we can still have it.

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan A stately pleasure-dome decree: Where Alph, the sacred river, ran Through caverns measureless to man Down to a sunless sea.

Kubla Khan, Samuel Taylor Coleridge