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Re: Links are links

From: Jeni Tennison <jeni@jenitennison.com>
Date: Mon, 30 Sep 2002 22:19:41 +0100
Message-ID: <93368013675.20020930221941@jenitennison.com>
To: www-tag@w3.org, Paul Prescod <paul@prescod.net>
Cc: Norman Walsh <Norman.Walsh@sun.com>

Hi Paul,

> Can someone please explain the virtue of trying to distinguish
> between "hypertext links" and "other links"? To me it sounds not
> only meaningless but actually harmful to the development of
> real-world software.

I was trying to pursue the distinction because Norm and others in the
TAG were saying "but you shouldn't use XLink for that -- you should
only use XLink for hypertext references". I thought that perhaps the
reason the TAG had decided that XLink should be used in XHTML was
because they had a narrower view of what XLink should be used for than
that assumed by the XHTML WG.

It seemed to me that working out what the TAG meant by "hypertext
references" might be a good way of (a) finding an example that could
illustrate the problems XHTML and other languages encounter using
XLink, to get the TAG to reconsider and/or (b) getting some kind of
authoritative word on what exactly the scope of XLink was, so that
XHTML/XForms could use it where appropriate and not when not, and hope
that this would solve the problem in a way everyone was happy with
(hah!).

In some ways I think it would be a good thing if XLink were scoped to
"references that lead to presentation of a retrieved resource": it
would leave the field open for other technologies to specify more
general linking semantics, after all.

On the other hand, like you say:

> So why do we insist on this distinction between hypertext links and
> other links? Software doesn't care. I think that the software will
> work better if don't force arbitrary distinctions on it. And in
> fact, XLink has MUCH better traction in software engineering shops
> than in hypertext shops *today*. So the market has defacto rejected
> the distinction.

this would imply that, if XHTML "should" use XLink, then it "should"
be used for all the references to resources, which implies that the
TAG's directive/suggestion has a lot bigger impact than they seem to
be imagining.

Cheers,

Jeni

---
Jeni Tennison
http://www.jenitennison.com/
Received on Monday, 30 September 2002 17:27:24 GMT

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