[xml-h] where to put links (was How semantic are links?)

Simon St.Laurent simonstl@simonstl.com
Fri, 17 Jan 2003 19:01:48 -0500

bobdc@snee.com (Bob DuCharme) writes:
>It's a trap, don't answer! You're laying the groundwork to talk about
>data modeling issues, which I think is an excellent place to start,
>and Simon's already asking about implementation details.

Fair enough, though I think "where the links go" is a pretty basic data
modeling issue.  Combined with the rules for markup, it sets the terms
on which you can build the links. 

HTML's decision to go with purely in-line linking was a brilliant
simplification, but it did shock and disappoint a lot of old-school
hypertext folks, even markup hypertext folks.  It also had some serious
implications, limitations, for data modeling.  

Moving forward, there are lots of cases where the choice of where to put
the links doesn't matter for the data model - link extractors could (and
do) extract all the links from HTML documents and can describe what
connects to what.  Then you can use either the original documents or the
extracted links for the data needed to go from place to place.

On the other hand, if you want to define things like overlapping links,
implementation details and data modeling often crash into each other
with a nice loud bang.  I've created a lot of overlapping links in HTML
by accident, and while there was no bang, there was sometimes a fair
amount of cursing.

SkunkLink offers inline markup with nested links:

That's pretty cool, but XML's insistence on clean structures will still
leave some kinds of in-line linking as annoying at best.

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