Re: Suggestion: ALTHREF attribute

Nick Arnett (
Fri, 16 Jan 1998 12:40:35 -0800

Message-Id: <>
Date: Fri, 16 Jan 1998 12:40:35 -0800
From: Nick Arnett <>
Subject: Re: Suggestion: ALTHREF attribute

At 04:25 PM 1/15/98 +0000, Dave Raggett wrote:
>On Thu, 15 Jan 1998, Jukka Korpela wrote:
>> There is currently no way to provide an alternative resource
>> to be used when the resource specified in the HREF attribute
>> of an A element is inaccessible (temporarily, e.g. due to
>> server being offline, or permanently, e.g. due to resource
>> having been deleted).
>This is another example of why we need ways to say more
>about the resource identified by a URL. Work on RDF[1] may
>provide a solution, but there may be value in easier to
>use "sugared syntax" for common cases. 

Yes, RDF may offer solutions (I'm in the RDF Schema Working Group) but this
is more properly a URI, specifically URN, issue, I would think.  As long as
the HREF is an URL, then it's not proper to use it as something other than a
location.  The whole point of URNs and URN resolution is to disassociate the
canonical name of a resource from its location, so it is entirely
appropriate to be the focus on any standards-based approach to this problem.

In the meantime, PURLs, as someone pointed out, can address the issue.
Also, in an upcoming version of our search and navigation servers, we're
going to support named resources, making our server a poor man's URN
resolver.  You can see how this works at the Apple home page
( -- type "Quicktime" in the search box, then click
"Shortcut."  The server resolves the name to whatever URL is currently the
Quicktime home page.  (Although at this very moment, it seems to be not
working...)  Apple did this with a wrapper script around our engine, but
we'll formally support it.

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