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Re: Anchor terminology

From: W. Eliot Kimber <eliot@isogen.com>
Date: Fri, 27 Dec 1996 16:11:09 -0900
Message-Id: <>
To: w3c-sgml-wg@www10.w3.org
At 07:23 PM 12/25/96 -0800, Jon Bosak wrote:

>While I think that HyTime provides a very useful basis upon which to
>begin our discussion of linking, I don't think that we are constrained
>to use its sometimes obscure wording in forming our own specification.
>We can use HyTime-compatible syntax without using HyTime terminology.

A mapping of XML terms to HyTime is only required if XML chooses to expose
its derivation from HyTime in the spec.  At a miminum, I would suggest an
appendix that provides the mapping, or maybe a separate technical report
that shows how XML can be derived from HyTime.  

>Therefore, I propose the following basic definitions:
>   Link: An element that expresses one or more relationships between
>   objects.
>   Link end: One of the objects addressed by a link.
>   Anchor: An element designed to serve as a link end.

I would prefer to just not use the term "anchor" at all.  I don't think we
need it if we agree to use "link end" in its place.  We can always say "an
HTML anchor" or "an identified object" or something.

Note that the Dexter hypermedia model uses "anchor" to mean the address of
a link end--it's a data object managed by the Dexter link management layer
(I think--I can go look up the relevant papers if anyone cares), not
something in the data linked.  So there's a third usage of Anchor that is
incompatible with either HyTime's or HTML's.

>Under these definitions, what HyTime generically and confusingly calls
>an anchor (that is, anything that is addressed by some link somewhere)
>is unambiguously called a link end, putting the emphasis on the role
>of the link in determining whether something is, in fact, a link end,
>and anything that has been deliberately formed in such a way as to
>make it easy to link to (as, for example, an element to which an
>identifier has been assigned) is called what everyone who is not a
>HyTime expert would call it, viz., an anchor.

>I understand that this terminology will give megrims to every HyTime
>expert in the world.  What I'm suggesting is that all ten of them can
>put up with the pain in the interest of creating a less rebarbative
>terminology for the teeming millions.

Ouch. Stop. You're hurting me.  

Note that HyTime does retain the term "link end", but it refers to the
union of the members of an anchor, the anchor description (nee "end term")
if any, and the anchor role name.  It's a data object that occurs in the
HyTime semantic grove but that has no direct syntactic analog (because it's
constructed from several different syntactic bits).

Thus, I think there's less conflict between "link end" used more informally
as Jon suggests and HyTime's use of the term than one might think.

>Think of it as a Christmas present.

Do I have to send a thank-you note?


W. Eliot Kimber (eliot@isogen.com) 
Senior SGML Consulting Engineer, Highland Consulting
2200 North Lamar Street, Suite 230, Dallas, Texas 75202
+1-214-953-0004 +1-214-953-3152 fax
http://www.isogen.com (work) http://www.drmacro.com (home)
"Rats in the morning, rats in the afternoon...if they don't go away, I'll be
re-educated soon..."                 --Austin Lounge Lizards, "1984 Blues"
Received on Friday, 27 December 1996 18:12:33 UTC

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