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linking, 80/20

80 20 approach
I've been thinking through XLink again and in particular some of the
comments on this list.  XLink's supporters seem to think that XLink is
virtuous because it does more than HTML but less than HyTime, if I may
grossly over-generalize.

While I appreciate the need to do more than HTML 1.0, I also think it's
pretty obvious that a much wider segment of the world is happy with
href, src, and longdesc than is interested in either complex links or
RDF.  Those of us who are interested in complex links (myself included)
may find this genuinely depressing, but I think it's a fair statement of
the overall situation.

Given that, I have to say that I find the XHTML 2.0 specification's
decisions to support href on everything (as in <li
href="#fish">fish</li>) and to use the familiar object element for
including foreign resources to be painfully sensible, however much they
may impinge on the sensibilities of XML and especially XLink people at

Allowing href on everything - whether or not it has the unnecessary
xlink: namespace slapped on it - is a much larger advance in making
hypertext broadly useful than any attempt to rewrite XHTML to take
advantage of complex links.

If there's an 80% of the value with 20% of the effort here, I think the
XHTML Working Group may well have found it.  I look forward to hearing a
more formal specification of their thoughts on hypertext linking, and I
really hope that we get to play with both this proposal and XLink's more
powerful but more ponderous mechanisms for a long time to come.

For the simple stuff, I like the XHTML approach.  For cases where I need
to describe multidirectional links, I like the XLink approach.  For
cases where overlapping markup is a much easier solution than either of
those, I'll be looking for something else entirely!

Simon St.Laurent - SSL is my TLA
http://simonstl.com may be my URI
http://monasticxml.com may be my ascetic URI
urn:oid: is another possibility altogether


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