Re: XLink conformance criteria question

/ Boris Zbarsky <> was heard to say:
| Based on the discussion at
| I reread
| the XLink specification today, and now I'm wondering about the
| conformance of our XLink implementation and about what it takes to be
| a conformant XLink implementation in general.
| Let us consider the following XML document:
| <?xml version=1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
| <root xmlns:xlink=""
|       xlink:type="simple" xlink:show="replace"
|       xlink:actuate="onRequest"
|       xlink:href="">
|   Text
| </root>
| Looking at the XLink specification [1], the behavior of this markup
| (as far as user interaction goes) seems to be essentially undefined.
| In particular:
| 1)  It's not clear when (if ever) the link should be actuated.
| 2)  The definition of the "onRequest" value of xlink:actuate is a "should"
| 3)  The behavior of the "replace" value for xlink:show is a "should".
| In other words, as far as I can tell an application that does
| absolutely nothing special here (eg just shows the text "Text") is a
| conforming XLink application. And so is an XLink application that
| traverses the link as soon as the "</root>" end tag is parsed and
| shows in a new window.
| Is that correct?

The Core WG discussed these comments and we don't agree with your
analysis. While you're correct that the spec says "should", it says so
in the RFC2119 sense:

  3. SHOULD This word, or the adjective "RECOMMENDED", mean that there
     may exist valid reasons in particular circumstances to ignore a
     particular item, but the full implications must be understood and
     carefully weighed before choosing a different course.

In other words, there may be applications for which the specified behaviors
are inappropriate (consider an "onRequest" link being displayed in an
application that has absolutely no ability to accept any form of user
input). In such circumstances, and after careful consideration, some other
semantic might be imposed.

But an "ordinary" web browser does not have any valid reasons to
ignore the "should"s in this case.

I'm delighted to here that you're considering support for XLink 1.1. I
hope that this response answers your questions. Please accept my
apologies for the tardiness of the reply.

                                        Be seeing you,

Norman Walsh
XML Standards Architect
Sun Microsystems, Inc.

Received on Wednesday, 23 August 2006 14:36:27 UTC