One of most serious problems plaguing the World Wide Web today is that of broken hypertext links, which are a major annoyance to browsing users and also a cause of tarnished reputation and possible loss of opportunity for information providers. The root of the problem lies in the current Web architecture's lack of support for referential integrity. This paper presents a model for the provision of referential integrity for Web resources which supports resource migration and tolerates site and communication failures. The approach is object-oriented, highly flexible, completely distributed, and does not require any global administration. An attractive feature of our design is the provision of a lightweight mechanism which provides referential integrity, and which may be customised on a per resource basis to provide increased fault-tolerance and performance. Our system follows an evolutionary approach, supporting parallel operation with the existing Web, allowing users to gain the additional benefits of referential integrity while allowing continued access through trusted software components.
Keywords: distributed systems, World Wide Web, object-oriented, referential integrity, migration transparency
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