Reactive Documents

Recently, I came across Bret Victor who wrote about an idea about Reactive documents – that is web articles that a reader may be able to interact with. An example would be a user being able to change the numbers and analyze an article about environmental effects of coal, if it contains statistics about the number of coal factories, the amount of pollution caused by them etc. One will be able to modify numbers inline in these documents, plot charts and be able to verify assumptions and results mentioned.

It seemed like a great idea to me where a reader is able to check whether the author has really put in the effort to bring in authentic arguments in the article. Basically, it will help the reader understand the material better, and challenge any assumptions made. Also this technology would help benefit students a lot as they usually read statistically oriented articles, and interacting with such stats comprehensively will enhance their understanding of the topic.

He also has written a Javascript library that a user may include on their site, and allow readers use the ideas mentioned above.

For more details, visit his project called Ten Brighter Ideas.

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