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XHTML 2.0 and the href and src attributes

From: Chris Mannall <chris.mannall@hecubagames.com>
Date: Thu, 08 Aug 2002 15:32:36 +0100
Message-ID: <3D528104.6090203@hecubagames.com>
To: www-html@w3.org

Apologies for not replying directly to the relevant message; I am not 
subscribed to this list. Please CC me on any replies.

I wrote [1]:
 >Is there any chance that we can start the process of renaming "src"
 >attributes to "href" attributes (or vice versa)?

To which Jonny Axelsson replied [2]:
 >Personally I don't think it is worth it. There are a number of linking
 >attributes, such as cite, data, href, longdesc, src... I don't see a
 >great advantage in renaming those as there are a number of different
 >kind of linking types anyway.

I think that for the most point you're helping my argument here... yes, 
there are a number of linking attributes, but the difference is that 
cite, data and longdesc all have different semantics, and for that 
reason I have no problem with them at all (well, except for the 
displeasing appearance of <cite cite=""></cite> which I think should 
either have its attribute renamed or perhaps replaced with <cite 
href=""></cite>, as I mentioned in my first message[1]).

The issue I have is solely limited to src and href, which have no 
semantic difference whatsoever. If there was a consistent difference 
between the two, such as 'src' always referring to resources to be 
embedded within the page (e.g. scripts, stylesheets) and href always 
referring to resources that are *pointed at* rather than included (e.g. 
anchors), then I could understand why two attributes are necessary. As 
it is, they seem to me to just be two ways of expressing exactly the 
same thing. I'd rather see src deleted and universally replaced with href.

As a somewhat related aside, why is the Hypertext attribute collection 
used so liberally? What is the intended meaning of e.g.:

     <em href="http://www.example.com/">
     <div href="http://www.example.com/">
     <body href="http://www.example.com/">
        and, strangest of all, this?

All are valid according to the spec, but no mention is made of what 
these element/attribute combinations *mean* nor how they are expected to 
*behave*. Is the intention to make (virtually) every element a 
hyperlink? If so, surely this would make the 'a' element somewhat redundant?

Chris Mannall

[1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-html/2002Aug/0017.html
[2] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-html/2002Aug/0023.html
Received on Thursday, 8 August 2002 10:35:05 UTC

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