[Bug 5744] Improved Fragment Identifiers


Rob Burns <rob@robburns.com> changed:

           What    |Removed                     |Added
                 CC|                            |rob@robburns.com

--- Comment #6 from Rob Burns <rob@robburns.com>  2008-06-14 10:16:04 ---
> I guess I'm not convinced that there is a real need here, and that even if
> there is a need, that it's not already solved by XPointer. We shouldn't be
> reinventing the wheel just because we're not sure we like the current spec --
> we should work with that spec to make it better.

The need here arises because:

 • authors often have a need to reference a specific section of another
document in a persistent or semi-persistent way. However, other referencee
authors may not provide sufficient id attributes to meet the needs of
referencing authors. This happens quite frequently. My most recent case was a
need to reference a piece of the HTML5 draft, but there was no nearby fragment
id to use and the nearest id came in the next chapter or section (keep in mind
here that this is a persistent document since I was linking to a version
snapshot of the draft)

 • other times authors do not check the uniqueness of ids and so id referencing
is broken (for example, see

 • it is considered best practice to provide accurate and precise referencing
of other peoples work for both users’ and authors’ benefit

 • perhaps it is somewhat beyond the scope of the HTML WG to provide a URL
pointer mechanism, but there are certainly steps a WG as pivotal as HTML can do
to address the situation such as 1) calling for a resurrection of a URL
pointer, WG 2) recommending XPointer support in HTML UA, just to name two

Having said all that I agree that more specifics are needed of what is missing
from XPointer, and some analysis of where XPointer went wrong before we can
address it in the HTML WG.

Ideally, a fragment should be identified with an URL by either: 1) id
reference, 2) a path of named siblings; 3) a path of indexed siblings; or 4) a
combination of all three. Some simple syntax drawn from XPointer/XPath and
included in the HTML5 spec might be all that is necessary to achieve that. Most
UAs that would need to implement this already have some XPath capabilities
already built in.

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Received on Saturday, 14 June 2008 10:16:39 UTC