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Re: link relation "external", was: Link relation types and validity in <link>, was: ACTION-182 and Issue-27

From: Julian Reschke <julian.reschke@gmx.de>
Date: Thu, 05 Aug 2010 20:08:50 +0200
Message-ID: <4C5AFE32.8010406@gmx.de>
To: Edward O'Connor <hober0@gmail.com>
CC: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>, Mark Nottingham <mnot@mnot.net>, Paul Cotton <Paul.Cotton@microsoft.com>, Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>, Leif Halvard Silli <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no>, "public-html@w3.org" <public-html@w3.org>
On 05.08.2010 19:42, Edward O'Connor wrote:
> Mark wrote:
>>> rel=external "indicates that the link is leading to a document that is
>>> not part of the site that the current document forms a part of." I
>>> believe it was first popularized by WordPress, which uses it on links
>>> left by commenters.
>
> Julian wrote:
>> If the use case actually *is* what Mark P. writes here, than it
>> definitely overlaps with "nofollow", and is *not* what the description
>> in the spec is about.
>
> I think Mark is half-right, and the half he's wrong about explains the
> reason for allowing rel=external on<a>  but not<link>. He's right that
> rel=external originates in the blogging world (I don't know offhand if
> it was specifically WP that popularized it), but it's not for links
> found in comments.
>
> It's for links within blog posts, so that the blogger can stylistically
> distinguish between internal links to other posts of hers on the one
> hand, and external links to other blogs/sites on the other. Such
> distinctions are also made by popular wiki software, e.g. MediaWiki.
> External links on Wikipedia appear with an arrow thingy after them. [1]
>
> I believe the relation is allowed on<a>  but not on<link>  precisely
> because the motivating use-case for the relation is only to style some
> links differently than other links, and only<a>  links are visible.
>
>
> Ted
>
> 1. http://bits.wikimedia.org/skins-1.5/vector/images/external-link-ltr-icon.png?2

Thanks for the background info.

In the meantime I also found threads in forums where people were using 
it for this use case, and had JS re-add target=_blank based on the 
relation in order to avoid validation errors. Sigh.

Anyway.

1) The description doesn't really explain what it's for.

2) I'm not sure why the use case is considered valid; what's wrong with 
using a CSS class for it?

3) And finally, I'm not convinced that there's any point in forbidding 
it in <link>. If it's used for <a> styling, it could be used for <link> 
the same way (if links get displayed).

Let me also point out that the spec delegates not only the registry but 
also the registration procedure to

   <http://wiki.whatwg.org/wiki/RelExtensions>

which says:

"For the "Status" section to be changed to "Accepted", the proposed 
keyword must either have been through the Microformats process, and been 
approved by the Microformats community; or must be defined by a W3C 
specification in the Candidate Recommendation or Recommendation state. 
If it fails to go through this process, it is "Rejected"."

...so apparently "external" never went through this process. Why is it 
in the spec then?

Best regards, Julian
Received on Thursday, 5 August 2010 18:09:37 GMT

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