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Using CSS Selectors as Fragment Identifiers

  • From: "Simon St.Laurent" <simonstl@simonstl.com>
  • To: "xml-dev@lists.xml.org" <xml-dev@lists.xml.org>
  • Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2011 14:55:23 -0500

Using CSS Selectors as Fragment Identifiers
XPointer has been one of the quiet XML specifications, used in some 
specialty XML applications but never really reaching a broad audience. 
The frustration it set out to solve - the challenge of linking precisely 
to content without modifying that content - is still out there, however.

Eric Meyer and I are hoping to get closer to a solution to those 
challenges by combining the grand vision of XPointer with a technology 
that's thrived on the Web: CSS.  When the XPointer specs were in 
development, CSS selectors had limited pointing capabilities.  Today, 
they're far more precise, capable of reaching many points in a document.

We're also hoping to make this appealing to both the XML and HTML 
communities, so the (very draft) spec as written applies to both markup 


Along the way I've been happily surprised to find XPointer's foundations 
robust, which made some issues (notably versioning) much easier to deal 

Please let me know if you have comments, suggestions, or other places I 
should take this.  We do plan to submit this to the XPointer Schemes 
Registry <http://www.w3.org/2005/04/xpointer-schemes/> once it's 
somewhat more stable.

Simon St.Laurent

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