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Liam Quin wrote:
> I think part of the problem with XLink's deployment on the Web is that
> it didn't have clear relationship to HTML and to Web-based multimedia.
> There are lots of use cases for "linkbases", not least in connection
> with distributed annotations, but the ability to take an arbitrary
> attribute in an XML or XHTML document, or the content of an arbitrary
> element, and say, "use this URI as the destination for *this* link, with
> this text in French and this in Italian, and if the user clicks here,
> offer a choice of thee seven links with their associated titles" was a
> step beyond the horizon of most Web developers, and old hat to the SGML
> hypertext crowd.
> I don't know how to bridge that gap, and I'm not sure who does, if
> anyone, but until it's bridged, I don't think we'll see great leaps
> forward in the XLink area. It's cultural and politial more than
Here's some feedback on XLink based on what is probably its largest
On the good side: contrary to a lot of what has been heard, people don't
complain about the namespace thing. A large share of SVG coders have an
HTML background and know rather little about XML, and they picked up
using the XLink namespace mostly without a hitch. Having discoverable
links is generally liked, and with the forthcoming release of SVG 1.2
some more complex links have been added (nothing like linkbases, but the
ability to have a single anchor contain multiple links and trigger some
UI on activation). With the increased integration of SVG with arbitrary
namespaces, having clearly identified links is turning out to be quite
On the bad side: you can't have an XLink without specifying at least two
attributes, xlink:href and xlink:type, even for simple links. That's
something I would call a glitch and would suggest fixing with an erratum
(otherwise it's just encouraging implementors to break the spec to make
authors' lives easier). Another downside is that the simple Web
authoring community didn't get the href/src/ref distinction that it's
used to dealing with anywhere near as easily as without XLink, while the
link junkies get nowhere near they would like to go. IMHO it would have
been much more successful if it had been XLink Core consisting of the
trivial but oh-so-useful things that Web authors want to do, and XLink
Advanced consisting of all the interesting stuff.
> Typographically they're back in the 1970s or early 1980s in some ways.
> Hung punctuation? Hyphenation? ffl ligatures (for Latin scripts)?
It's far from perfect but hyphenation and ligatures you can get from SVG
(assuming for hyphenation that you pre-munge your text a bit -- but that
could be improved). In this case splitting out the Basic Fonts module
and turning it into Web Fonts so that it could be reused elsewhere would
be helpful. Again, it could then be improved for better typography.
> The corporate desktop isn't somewhere you'd expect to see innovation,
> and indeed, now that the corporate desktop seems to drive the Web, we're
> not seeing innovation.
Yes, we need to make the Web fun again, somehow :) But I'm not worried,
the browser war just had a short truce, it's not over yet.
> I'd love to see a more sophisticated XSL-FO being used in browsers.
I wouldn't be surprised to see that sort of product happen sooner rather
> love to see Web browsers making use of embedded RDF to display
> information about Web pages. I'd love to see multi-channel audio being
> used on the Web, both for accessibility and for the user experience.
> I'd love to see a whole bunch of things.
I'd love to see the cool stuff from the W3C implemented in a single UA
-- even just the mobile profiles -- and then think of what's next :)