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RE: [xml-dev] hypermedia affordances

On Fri, 2012-07-06 at 15:59 +0000, Rushforth, Peter wrote:
>  recognition by the XML community of the cultural fact of the
> recognition of the "style" of HTML affordance that is
> recognized globally would be the first step.

You have to be careful what you standardise.

At one time the "obvious and universal affordance" of a hypertext link
was that it was coloured green - this came from Microsoft Help.

The href attribute is pretty obvious and natural to people who grew up
with HTML, as is the (artificial and unfortunate) distinction between
href and src.

The title and alt elements on "a" and "img" elements in HTML are an
awfully bad design, and should obviously not be used in other
vocabularies. In time they will probably be supplemented by other
standard but more powerful methods, just as the label-for mechanism
arose for making forms accessible and translatable.

On the other hand, the (disputed) longdesc on the img element is a
reminder that sometimes one element participates in more than one
outgoing link.

If you want to add features to XML to make it compete with HTML, I'd say
start a W3C community group to do a survey of existing practice, noting
where people commonly use JavaScript libraries to work around HTML's
deficiencies (or, more positively, but equivalently, where they build
higher-level constructs with the Open Web Platform's rich API...), and
look at how (and whether) the attributes you've wanted to add are used
and implemented in Web browsers today.

Don't start out by saying, "those guys are successful so they got
everything right and if we copy them we'll be successful too" as this
rarely works out well in the long term.

But I think a CG to look at linking for the Web would most likely end up
making proposals to add features to HTML, with notes on how they could
be implemented in browsers today using JavaScript and/or CSS, and clear
explanation of fallback behaviour, rather than hard-wiring some stuff
into XML.


Liam Quin - XML Activity Lead, W3C, http://www.w3.org/People/Quin/
Pictures from old books: http://fromoldbooks.org/
Ankh: irc.sorcery.net irc.gnome.org freenode/#xml
Co-author, 5th edition of Beginning XML, Wrox, 2012

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