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Re: Link behavior

From: Tantek Çelik <tantek@cs.stanford.edu>
Date: Tue, 07 Jan 2003 16:39:50 -0800
To: fantasai <fantasai@escape.com>, <www-style@w3.org>
Message-ID: <BA40B324.1ECC3%tantek@cs.stanford.edu>

On 1/7/03 1:57 PM, "fantasai" <fantasai@escape.com> wrote:

> 
> Ian Hickson wrote:
>> On Tue, 7 Jan 2003, Herr Christian Wolfgang Hujer wrote:
>> 
>>> I think a href has a behaviour that effectivly consists of three steps:
>>> The behaviour requesting the object from the user agent. (That makes it
>>> possible for a spider or a tabbed browser to thread / tab)
>>> The user agent creating and delivering the object.
>>> The behaviour invoking the desired method or altering the desired attributes
>>> of that object.
>> 
>> I would say that's its semantics.
> 
> That seems more to me like behavior than semantics.
> The semantic of a link is that of a pointer to another resource.
> There's no "creating" or "requesting" associated with what it
> *is*, only with how it typically behaves.

I agree 100%.

Another way to look at this is that different devices, media, and users may
want to alter the _behavior_ of a link without altering its _semantics_.

Links whose _behavior_ is to open a new window for the referenced resource
are a perfect example which users may want to alter, and whose author
assigned behavior makes no sense on a handheld device (or a tv).

It does come down to both a device independence issue, and an accessibility
issue.  For device independence, media types and media queries could provide
appropriate switching among appropriate behaviors, and for accessibility,
user style sheets could provide provide customization of the behaviors.

While an element's interactive behavior is not the same as its static
presentation, the two are far more related and even typically
intertwined/dependent than either is with the underlying semantics of the
markup.  Appropriately enough, CSS already has some "behavioral" or
"interactive presentational" features such as the dynamic pseudo-classes
:active, :hover, :checked, :enabled, 'cursor', 'overflow:scroll' etc.  If
properly designed and scoped, additional behavioral features for links could
be quite valuable with helping to further separate the semantics of marked
up content from its presentation and interactive behaviors.

> The HTML spec does, however, go on to define also how it behaves
> by default:
> # The default behavior associated with a link is
> # the retrieval of another Web resource.
>       -- http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/struct/links.html#h-12.1.1

Indeed, as with many HTML4 tags/attributes, there is a (in this case
interactive) presentational default specified in the specification.

Thanks,

Tantek
Received on Tuesday, 7 January 2003 19:24:38 GMT

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