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Re: 1.4 a-c: Basic Terminology

From: Liora Alschuler <Liora@The-Word-Electric.com>
Date: Fri, 07 Feb 1997 09:41:45 -0500
Message-Id: <>
To: w3c-sgml-wg@w3.org
>At 11:09 AM 31/01/97 -0800, Tim Bray wrote:
>>1.4.a What do we call the container used to hold the bits that
>> point at other things?  (in current discussion: link)
>>1.4.b What do we call the bits that point at other things? (in current
>> discussion: pointer)
>>1.4.c What do we call the things that are pointed at? (in current 
>> discussion: terminus)
>Sign me up for link, pointer, and terminus.  Motivation: a link is
>what people expect, fewer suprises are better.  Pointer: I could 
>be swayed on this one, but it's nicely mnemonic, a single word, and
>not already used by any of the existing hypertext tribes.  Terminus:
>I like this one a lot, same reasons as pointer, plus both the denotation
>and connotations are good. -Tim

1.4.a link --> link element
We think we know what we mean by link, but it is in fact defined by context
-- "I link this link".

So, it's fine to call a link a link when the context is clear, but formally,
I suggest we use "link element" when we define a link element and let users
shorten this to "link" when the context is unambiguous. This way, we will
provide a point of reference when there is confusion and there will be
confusion because HTML'rs will not understand right away why they need all
these terms if "this" (whatever this is) is actually "the" link. 

The solitary term "link" should be reserved for the overall concept of a
link and the separate components of a link should be given equal weight and
a clear interrelationship by naming them as separate parts of the link. I
believe that inserting "element" into the formal definition also makes it
easier to explain how this is just a certain way of using good old SGML/XML

1.4.b pointer --> link pointer
Again, users can shorten this when the context and application is clear.
Initially, and in formal definitions, I think two words are worth the extra
keystrokes because it sets up a clear relationship between the thing that
points and all encompassing concept which is a hypertext link.

1.4.c terminus --> link end
In all the fine distinctions made over this point, the basic definition used
was always that this is a link end. So call it a link end. "End" solo is
vague, but again, in lengthy expositions and where the context is clear and
if we really succeed in propagating XML, the "link" part will drop off of
its own accord where appropriate. 

I guess I feel about these concatenated terms the way a processor might feel
about end tags: extra markup, but boy does it make my job easier.

See also my general remarks in 0. Naming


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Received on Friday, 7 February 1997 09:43:32 UTC

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