Re: Anchor dilemma

Foteos Macrides (
Mon, 19 Feb 1996 11:37:43 -0500 (EST)

Date: Mon, 19 Feb 1996 11:37:43 -0500 (EST)
From: Foteos Macrides <>
Subject: Re: Anchor dilemma
Message-Id: <01I1E9L6U12A000YZW@SCI.WFBR.EDU>

"Daniel W. Connolly" <> wrote:
>In message <01I1E1S7LDBM000V2A@SCI.WFBR.EDU>, Foteos Macrides writes:
>>"Daniel W. Connolly" <> wrote:
>>>This "empty anchors" but is annoying, as it causes lots of folks
>>>to write:
>>>	<h1><a name="target"> blah blah </h1>
>>>without closing the <a>, because their generator software doesn't know
>>>where the end of the target is.
>>	Has <SPOT ID="target">, which solved the empty anchor problem,
>>been abandoned?
>Putting <spot> in a spec won't fix the empty anchor problem: the
>implementations have to be revised. I'm not interested in using <spot>
>to band-aid the problems with <A>. I want the bugs fixed.
>I _am_ interested in using <spot> for other things (like change bars,
>and other non-hierarchical structures). So in my mind, it hasn't been
>abandoned. I can't say it's high on the agenda right now, though.

	Perhaps I haven't grapsed what is the problem with <A>.
People with clients which did not implement SPOT are tempted to use:

	<A NAME="target></A>Blah blah ...

for what:

	<SPOT ID="target">Blah blah ...
does.  Using:

	<A NAME="target">Blah</A> blah ...

avoids the problem of an empty anchor, but including some arbitrary,
small portion of the text as content is not logically what's intended.
Also, it achieves the desired result only for clients which have stopped
highlighting anchor content if the anchor tag lacks an HREF attribute.
In those cases, forgetting to include an end tag for the anchor has
no visible consequences (the client doesn't highlight, or otherwise
indicate a link, for a large portion or everything which follows the
HREF-less NAMEd anchor start tag).  So naive users of such clients
draw the incorrect inference that an end tag is not required for
NAMEed anchors without an HREF.  That's not a bug in the clients which
needs to be corrected, but is a predictable consequece of the clients
not supporting markup which is explicitly designed for what is intended.

	Along the same lines, for your initial example, with the HTML 3.0
DTD a valid way to do it is:

	<H1 ID="target">Blah blah ...</H1>
	What are the current status and future prospects for ID attributes?

 Foteos Macrides            Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research
 MACRIDES@SCI.WFBR.EDU         222 Maple Avenue, Shrewsbury, MA 01545