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   RE: [xml-dev] Current status of XLink

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XLink is normatively referenced in the
Geography Markup Language (GML) 3.1.0 specification


Robin Cover
XML Cover Pages
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On Fri, 26 Mar 2004, Ben Trafford wrote:

> At 01:35 PM 3/26/2004 +0000, Michael Kay wrote:
> >In my view the mess is because XLink simply doesn't fit into the layering 
> >of the XML architecture. The whole point of XML is that you can choose any 
> >names you like for your objects and attributes, and give them any 
> >semantics that you like (typically captured in schemas and stylesheets). 
> >So why should relationships be different from objects and attributes, and 
> >require fixed names and fixed semantics?
>          There wasn't a sufficient XML architecture in place during XLink's 
> development, frankly. As I've mentioned before, this was 1998. Nobody had a 
> clear view of how things were going to proceed.
> >Hyperlinking is something that belongs in the user interface layer, not in 
> >the stored information. The stored information needs to hold relationship 
> >information in a much more abstract form. The hyperlinks, like all other 
> >user interface objects, should be generated by the stylesheet. It's 
> >because the hyperlinking community failed to recognize this that the idea 
> >failed to catch on. The other consequence of this is that there is a 
> >gaping hole in the XML story as to how abstract relationships should be 
> >modelled.
>          The hyperlinking community actually recognized it quite early. You 
> have XPath because we recognized it, and thus, a unified semantic for 
> referring to parts of an XML document. Notice the names on the XPath 1.0 
> document? James Clark (XSLT) and Steve DeRose (XPointer and XLink). 
> Unfortunately, that's where the rapprochement stopped.
>          XSLT and XSL-FO (not mention CSS) -should- have functionality to 
> deal with the kind of hyperlinking constructs we were trying to build into 
> XLink. If they did, the structure of the language would've been much 
> different, I think. Unfortunately, that never happened.
>          My two cents: I think XLink should be scrapped (even though it has 
> my name on it - *sigh*). The XSL and CSS Working Groups should be made to 
> sit down with a new XLink WG, and forced to hammer out the stylistic and 
> behavioral aspects of good hyperlinking. And then the XLink folks should 
> make a specific that describes relationships, not behavior. This should've 
> happened years ago.
>          If such stylistic and behavioral support existed in the first 
> place, maybe we'd be seeing a better quality of hyperlinking on the Web, 
> instead of the ugly morass of scripting tricks we're seeing now.
> --->Ben 
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