W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > June 2011

Change proposal for ISSUE-153

From: Julian Reschke <julian.reschke@gmx.de>
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2011 18:09:50 +0200
Message-ID: <4E03654E.10601@gmx.de>
To: HTML WG LIST <public-html@w3.org>
CC: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>
SUMMARY

The "external" link relation is defined as:

"The external keyword indicates that the link is leading to a document 
that is not part of the site that the current document forms a part of."

It's unclear why this needs a link relation and also why it needs to be 
defined in the HTML specification.

RATIONALE

In the bug [2], Tab says:

"It's relatively common for pages, especially blogs or reference sites, 
to indicate an off-site link by styling it specially.

Exactly what "off-site" means is up to the author, but it usually refers 
to something on another domain.  (In shared-hosting setups, it could 
also refer to things on a different subdomain.)  The implication is that 
the resource at the other side of the link is not under the control of 
the author." -- <http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=11181#c1>

The answer to this is that this can be done using CSS and @class.

Indeed, Aryeh states:

"Yeah, this distinction is clearly useful for styling, but I don't see 
any problem with just using a class for styling." -- 
<http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=11181#c3>

Ian Hickson replies:

"This is a very commonly requested feature."  -- 
<http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=11181#c4>

to which Aryeh replied:

". . . like requested where?  And for what?" -- 
<http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=11181#c5>

to which Ian did not reply.

(OK, I'll stop copying from the bug now)

So this is a link relation that doesn't look entirely useful, and the 
described effect easily can be reached with CSS styling and @class.

As a matter of fact, I *do* see mentions of this link relation being 
used as a workaround for target=_blank being invalid, and being replaced 
by it using Javascript to workaround validation errors (see [3]). Using 
Javascript to put in things that are invalid is a very bad idea in 
itself; in this case it doesn't make any sense whatsoever as 
target=_blank *is* valid.

Summarizing: people who want to make "external" a valid link relation 
should go through the process defined in the spec; right now this means 
getting it registered at microformats.org.

DETAILS

Remove "4.12.4.4 Link type "external"" (Editor's draft June 21 2011), 
and also remove the entry from "4.12.4 Link types".


IMPACT

1. Positive Effects

People who want this link relation to be valid will have to follow the 
WG-approved process to make it valid.

2. Negative Effects

People who want this link relation to be valid will have to follow the 
WG-approved process to make it valid.

3. Conformance Classes Changes

The link relation "external" becomes invalid until registered.

4. Risks

None.


REFERENCES

[1] <http://www.w3.org/html/wg/tracker/issues/153>
[2] <http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=11181>
[3] 
<http://terriswallow.com/weblog/2008/change-rel-external-to-target-blank-using-prototype/>
Received on Thursday, 23 June 2011 16:10:32 UTC

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