One of the main advantages of WWWeasel over existing computer-based design documentation tools is the well-integrated media capture, manipulation, and conversion functionality. This is especially important in the context of an engineers notebook because engineers need to communicate their design ideas through a combination of text and other media, including screen-snapshots of their computer tools, graphic diagrams and sketches, graphic models and simulations, etc.
The engineer may want to audio annotate existing documents, or create audio commentary documents pointing to other people's documents. Designers need to be able to easily produce documents with pictures (moving or still) of real-world objects - objects that are prototype results of the artifacts of the design activity itself, or simply a digital picture of a whiteboard or napkin drawing.
WWWeasel allows easy access to the output of other media production programs, via good desktop integration and automatic media conversion. Rather than attempting to build-in features of a best-of-class media manipulation/edit or electronic design program, media from other tools can be directly input into WWWeasel via desktop drag-and-drop. WWWeasel automatically converts media taken from the filesystem or desktop drag-and-drop into a format suitable for display on the world wide web. This further simplifies using WWWeasel as a engineering design notebook tool because one can use one's favorite existing tools and directly incorporate those results into one's notebook without having to bother with the tedium of manually converting and handling media.
We believe that WWWeasel's ability to let people simply and effectively weave media that they have created or captured into their design documents will make the task of electronic design documentation simpler, not harder. By giving the engineer a flexible, open system that can help organize, catalog, and inter-link notes, data, graphics, photos, movies, audio annotations, we hope to improve both personal organization as well as group communication. By simplifying the process of multimedia authoring, engineers using WWWeasel will be able to document a greater part of their work, while easily distributing and sharing design ideas with other remote or co-located engineers.
Since media is of primary importance in WWWeasel we will look at the specific media capabilities of WWWeasel in the following subsections: