Re: locator syntax, resources, etc.

From: David G. Durand (
Date: Mon, Jul 19 1999

Message-Id: <v04011703b3b91136452c@[]>
Date: Mon, 19 Jul 1999 10:38:17 -0700
To: Paul Prescod <>, Paul Grosso <>
From: "David G. Durand" <>
Subject: Re: locator syntax, resources, etc.

At 9:29 AM -0700 6/29/99, Paul Prescod wrote:
>To make this concrete, imagine that you are using XSL or your favorite
>stylesheet language. You invoke a method called "GetXLinkAnchors()". What
>do you get back? A list of *what*? I claim that it should be a list of
>nodes. It should not be possible to claim to link to things that do not
>have a concept of node because it isn't logically possible to link to
>something that doesn't have a well-defined concept of identity.

That is exactly why an operation like GetXLinkAnchors is too limiting to be
useful. It doesn't even work for spans (without hacks) which are certainly
a natural construct in documents.

The problems with foreign anchors, and with spans as currently defined
simply go away, once you give up the notion of Enumerating anchors, rather
than the more powerful notion of fetching the document an finding the
relveant place or places within that document.

I hope that I'm being clear. I find the notion of enumerating anchors in a
functional way to be fundamentally bizarre (perhaps because I believe that
spans are a primary object in document ontology), so I have trouble
addressing these objections in a way that is understandable.

I hope that I'm being a little clearer this time. The only _operational_
way to resolve a link is to fetch the destination document and then do
something based on the location within the destination. Note that that
location (e.g. a span) is not at all the same thing as the Contents of that
location (e.g. a node or list of nodes). In fact, some locations (like
spans) lack a well defined notion of contents (at least if your notion of
content is defined as a node or list of sibling nodes).

  -- David

  -- Davis
David Durand      \  \  Director of Development
    Graduate Student no more!              \  Dynamic Diagrams
MAPA: mapping for the WWW                    \__________________________