Hlink, CSS anyone?

Short version:

I think that the option to use CSS to express HLinks as proposed by
Micah Dubinko [1] and Uche Ogbuji [2] needs to be seriously explored if
not already done.

[1] http://dubinko.info/blog/2002_09_08_archive.html
[2] http://lists.xml.org/archives/xml-dev/200209/msg00379.html

Long version:

There have been quite a few references to CSS in these threads about
HLink on wwww-tag (I haven't searched in other lists):

Steven Pemberton:
"We regard Hlink like CSS: we would describe our links using it, but not
require a UA to implement it."

David Carlisle:
"The benefits of (X)HTML over arbitrary CSS-styled and xlink-linked XML
would be small to none."

Mike Champion:
"XML + CSS + some hyperlinking mechanism:  Well, that's my preferred
scenario, but even if the W3C agreed on a hyperlinking mechanism TODAY,
it would be a hard sell to non-geeks."

Elliotte Rusty Harold:
"A "generic XLink processor" isn't going to display anything. .../... A
CSS stylesheet could at least hide certain parts of the information."

I am wondering if, in a sense, XHTML isn't doing here to XLink what
generic XML does to XHTML, by requiring the ability to map its own
elements or attributes into those of a predefined and specific

Where CSS already maps:

<foo>This is a chapter</foo>


<p>This is a chapter</p>

HLink maps

<img src="foo"/>


<img xlink:href="foo"/>

In both case, this mapping is a hint for UAs that they can render a
native more generic document as if it was written using a more specific

The proposal done by Micah:

img {
  link-define: {
    link-locator: attr(src);
    link-effect: embed;
    link-actuate: onLoad;
    link-onFailure: warn;
  link-define: {
    link-locator: attr(longdesc);
    link-effect: new;
    link-actuate: onRequestSecondary;
  link-define: {
    link-locator: attr(usemap);
    link-effect: map;
    link-actuate: onLoad;

has the advantage of using a mechanism already implemented in most of
UAs and to rely on CSS selectors which are more powerfull than what
HLink is currently proposing.

Rendez-vous  Paris.
Eric van der Vlist       http://xmlfr.org            http://dyomedea.com
(W3C) XML Schema ISBN:0-596-00252-1 http://oreilly.com/catalog/xmlschema

Received on Saturday, 28 September 2002 02:59:14 UTC