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   linkbase brainstorming

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XML 2002 included a Hypertext Town Hall which I consider to have been
one of the more fruitful panels on which I've participated.  I've been
thinking about and working in XML hypertext for a long time, but that
Town Hall crystallized some ideas that had been percolating for a while.

Micah Dubinko's already made a proposal that I think covers the
fundamentals for inline linking:

Having that problem mostly solved makes it easier to focus exclusively
on linkbases, which seem to me a very different set of problems.  I
suspect much of the reason that I find XLink to be such a mess is that
it attempts to solve a variety of linking problems simultaneously, and
ends up verbose for inline linking and abbreviated for out-of-line

Anyway, Tim Bray once said:

>I reviewed the XLink spec, and I thought about how I'd go about 
>designing markup for multi-ended and out-of-band links, and I thought 
>XLink presented a pretty compelling design for how you'd do those 

I don't find XLink anywhere near "a pretty compelling design".  Tim
also said:
>I think disagreement should be accompanied by examples: "here's a
>better way to do a multi-ended/out-of-band/metadata-loaded hyperlink,
>and here's why it's better."

It takes a long time to do that, and I'm not nearly done yet, but some
early efforts of mine are available at:

I don't consider my current structures the final word on how to create
out-of-line links, but I do think it's worth considering the benefits of
an element-based syntax rather than one which insists on cramming
complex information into attribute values.  It makes it a lot easier to
create reusable resource descriptions with friendlier names than URIs
can offer.  It also makes it possible to deal with the full range of
content-negotiation possibilities rather than hiding your head in the
URI sand.

VELLUM will probably not take the ordinary Web development world by
storm, but I hope that it at least points to new directions forward. The
XLink WG is gone, and perhaps we should take that as license to think
for ourselves.

Comments, suggestions, and criticisms are welcome.  This is only an
initial draft!

Simon St.Laurent
Ring around the content, a pocket full of brackets
Errors, errors, all fall down!
http://simonstl.com -- http://monasticxml.org


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