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Re: anchors in W3C specs

From: Masayasu Ishikawa <mimasa@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 05 Dec 2001 16:59:24 +0900 (JST)
Message-Id: <20011205.165924.104027979.mimasa@w3.org>
To: spec-prod@w3.org
Paul Grosso <pgrosso@arbortext.com> wrote:

> Specifically, I'm concerned with the use link targets such 
> as <div id="foo"> that are expected to be the target of a
> link such as <a href="#foo">.  While this is allowable in
> XHTML, this is not compatible with HTML and does not follow 
> the XHTML guidelines for compatibility with HTML browsers;
> such links do not work, for example, in Netscape 4.x browsers.

One clarification: this *is* compatible with HTML, see "12.2.3
Anchors with the id attribute" [1] of HTML 4, for example.
RFC 2070 [2], which was published in January 1997 (as old as
HTML 3.2), also added the "id" attribute on most elements.
The "id" attribute can be found even in the first proposal of
HTML+ (in 1993), so this is really an "old" feature in HTML.
Nowadays almost all browsers except Netscape 4.x supports
the "id" attribute as an anchor.

You may call it as an incompatibility with legacy HTML browsers
(such as Netscape 4.x), but please don't call it as an
incompatibility with HTML.

> I have noted an increasing number of such links in W3C 
> documents, and I note with great concern that the W3C link 
> validator does not even so much as give a warning for such 
> links which are effectively BROKEN for all Netscape users.

Because it is Netscape 4.x which is broken, not links.

> Personally, I'd like to see our pub styles indicate that
> W3C specs should follow the XHTML compatibility guideline
> that suggests targets of the form <a id="foo" name="foo">
> are used, and I'd like to see the link validator give
> errors (or at least warnings) for link targets using an
> id since that won't work in many of the deployed browsers.

I'm not against using both the "id" and "name" attributes (when
it is feasible), but the link validator MUST NOT give "errors"
for perfectly valid link targets, and they do work in many of
the deployed browsers (except Netscape 4.x).

[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/struct/links.html#h-12.2.3
[2] http://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc2070.txt

Masayasu Ishikawa / mimasa@w3.org
W3C - World Wide Web Consortium
Received on Wednesday, 5 December 2001 02:59:29 UTC

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