HTML itself could be displayed in TOME using the public domain HTMLWidget  an X Toolkit widget used by NCSA Mosaic. This widget takes an HTML string as the value of its XtNtext resource and displays it, formatted, in a window (although routines for rendering inlined images are not built in). However, unlike libWWW, using the HTMLWidget could really only be classed as a 'quick and dirty' method: it is useful for getting WWW access up and running as soon as possible in order to demonstrate its usefulness, but it has serious drawbacks. The user would be faced with two kinds of TOME window with rather different looks and behaviour: one editable, the other not; one where buttons (i.e. source anchors) are true nodes, one where they are not; one where internal reference fragments (i.e. destination anchors) are highlighted regions, one where they are a single point in the text; and two distinct text selection and highlighting schemes. In short, it would be a confusing mess. For something that could become a very important central feature of PLINTH, a less superficial approach, more deeply integrated with the main system, is highly desirable.
Two solutions are available. Firstly, and more easily, we can add conversion routines to PLINTH for pre-formatting the HTML into a TOME buffer (keeping the distinct appearance of bold and italic text but not the variety of font sizes) which can then be viewed and edited in a regular TOME window. HTML link anchors can be converted into proper button nodes which have a URL slot rather than a normal reference link to another node. The TOME representation can be converted back to HTML if the file is saved locally. Inlined images could be displayed simply as cross-reference buttons to separate windows (i.e. not inlined at all), or image display facilities could be added to TOME (a major task, since the Poplog XpwScrollText widget that TOME uses for its basic display and input of text does not support graphics, and would have to be re-implemented from scratch).
The second, and much better, solution would be to use a version of HTML as TOME's native text format, and avoid the conversion altogether. The next section of the paper looks at the possiblities for achieving this.