StretchText is a hypertext feature which hasn’t gained mass adoption in systems like the WWW, but which gives more control to the reader in determining what level of detail to read at. Authors write content to several levels of detail in a work.
StretchText is similar to outlining, however instead of drilling down lists to greater detail, the current node is replaced with a newer node. This “stretching” to increase the amount of writing, or to contract it gives the feature its name. This is analogous to zooming in to get more detail.
Ted Nelson coined the term around 1967.
Conceptually StretchText is similar to existing hypertext system where a link provides a more descriptive or exhaustive explanation of something, but there is a key difference between a link and a piece of stretchtext. A link completely replaces the current piece of hypertext with the destination, whereas stretchtext expands or contracts the content in place. Thus the existing hypertext serves as context.
Though Storyspace 3 strives to avoid modes, combining all its extensions in a single formalism, one modality cannot be avoided. The Storyspace reader clicks to follow links, but the writer and editor must be allowed to click to select and revise text.
Storyspace 3 leverages this long-extant and seemingly- inescapable modal behavior to support generalized stretchtext through macro expansion. When writing, we may insert placeholders that can be interpreted by the performance engine. For example, the placeholder
will be replaced, in the reader’s view, by the text of the note
Cicero in the container “sayings”. Similarly,
will embed a link with the specified anchor, If the link is clicked, the anchor text will be replaced by the contents of the designated note, and an optional action may be performed in order to record a change of state.
Storyspace 3 Mark Bernstein Eastgate Systems, Inc.