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XLink and Support for LONGDESC

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Thu, 8 Aug 2002 00:53:40 -0700
Message-Id: <a05101005b977d2a3b762@[10.0.1.2]>
To: Jukka Korpela <jukka.korpela@tieke.fi>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Cc: b.kelly@ukoln.ac.uk

At 10:15 AM +0300 8/8/02, Jukka Korpela wrote:
>There's yet another approach, which has all the imaginable benefits but,
>alas, the undeniable drawback that it is low-tech:
>Include a textual link that refers to the long description.

It's a good approach (and is compatible with XLink) -- the only
drawback is that if not done with something like XLink, it can easily
get disassociated from the image itself.

The advantage of LONGDESC is that you know exactly what the link is
related to -- the IMG element that contains the LONGDESC attribute.
(The disadvantages are lack of support, and the fact that LONGDESC
is a clumsy cludge.)  If you tab onto the image, then you can immediately
locate its longer description programmatically.

The advantage of D-Link is that, in general, it immediately follows
the image to which it refers.  This is less good, because you can't,
with authority, programmatically determine what it belongs to, although
you can usually guess that the D-Link refers only to the image it
follows.  However, D-Link is bad for a number of other reasons,
including: it's ugly on the page, it's inexplicable if you don't
know what it is, and it is bad hypertext.

Your solution is good because it is good hypertext.  It is bad because
it is impossible to programmatically tell that some text link way
over THERE is actually related to this image right HERE.

If you used XLink to build this relationship between the image right
HERE and the link way over THERE, then you've pretty much got the
missing piece of the puzzle that has been preventing all the other
hacks from working efficiently.

Now we just need support for XLink, and appropriate standards written
for a new longdesc, and we're all set!  (I haven't looked closely
at XHTML 2.0 for months.  Did they get this right?  Or is this up to
WAI, perhaps in Protocols and Formats?)

--Kynn

-- 
Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>                 http://kynn.com
Chief Technologist, Idyll Mountain            http://idyllmtn.com
Next Book: Teach Yourself CSS in 24       http://cssin24hours.com
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Received on Thursday, 8 August 2002 03:53:50 GMT

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