W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-tag@w3.org > December 2002

Re: Generic link handling

From: Simon St.Laurent <simonstl@simonstl.com>
Date: Tue, 3 Dec 2002 17:08:15 -0500
To: www-tag@w3.org
Message-ID: <r01050400-1022-B8BE7E7C070B11D7B6E70003937A08C2@[192.168.124.21]>

Norm Walsh writes:
>People really seem to want to jam all this stuff into a single string,
>for which a URI reference (especially given the fact that the thing
>you're pointing to is usually identified by a URI) seems like a
>convenient starting point.
>
>The desire to shove these things into strings has never resonated with
>me. I think the XSL WG made the wrong design choice back in '98 when
>we adopted the string form of XPath. C'est la vie.

I think we're in agreement on technical matters up until that last
"C'est la vie."

Maybe it's time to acknowledge that XLink has, for the most part, failed
to excite the kinds of people who "want to jam all this stuff into a
single string".  Given that, and given the profound verbosity of
XPointer's single strings, maybe it's time to step back and ask those
annoying initial value questions once again.

HTML has done pretty well with shoving URI references into attributes,
largely because the things 99% of the population wants to do with HTML
URI references are pretty simple.

XML has a much rougher time with that, in part because of the issues
around barename references and in part because XML's combination of
structural clarity and semantic openness open a lot more possibilities.
"Jamming" those possibilities into a URI reference produces some pretty
nasty results, as Roy Fielding has noted, and using URI references to
identify namespaces within those URI references seems to cross over into
the perverse.

The TAG has already moved that XLink should be the generic linking
mechanism for XML, despite a wide variety of complaints about its
appropriateness for various domains.  The XLink WG seems poised to rush
a late-changing and pretty grotesque XPointer spec out the door before
it passes into oblivion.  

It's my hope that the rest of the XML community will think hard about
what it really wants from hypertext linking before it too blesses these
unfortunate specifications.  So far, I've seen no rush to reach a
conclusion, so there may yet be time.
-- 
Simon St.Laurent
Ring around the content, a pocket full of brackets
Errors, errors, all fall down!
http://simonstl.com -- http://monasticxml.org
Received on Tuesday, 3 December 2002 17:07:50 GMT

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