[xml-h] 1-to-many HTML links, prototyped

Bob DuCharme bobdc@snee.com
Sat Jan 18 23:43:31 GMT 2003

While reading Micah's SkunkLink proposal, I was struck by the simplicity of 
using an 'a' element to represent one-to-many links in HTML. I remember 
seeing an argument against this somewhere, but don't remember it, so I went 
ahead and prototyped an implementation. If you go to 
http://www.snee.com/xml/linking/1toMdemo.xml you should see a page where 
the green links are 1-to-many links. A View Source will show that the file 
is basic XHMTL, except that the green links are marked up as nested 'a' 
links. View Source will also show that an XSLT stylesheet is used, 
http://www.snee.com/xml/linking/1toM.xml (1toMdemo.xml explains why the 
stylesheet has an "xml" extension) that just copies all elements through 
but converts 'a' elements with 'a' children to menus implemented with some 
JavaScript code that I learned about from a Netscape DevEdge article at 

Changing the XHTML content model for the 'a' element to allow nesting of 
them is an awfully small change to make to its DTD. (What would you with 
with deeper nesting levels? Turn them into submenus.)

For 1-to-many linking in more generalized linking constructs outside of 
XHTML (e.g. XLink and any of the successors cropping up), this combination 
of XSLT plus the DevEdge menuing code makes prototyping of the linking 
surprisingly easy.

Bob DuCharme          www.snee.com/bob           <bob@
snee.com>  "The elements be kind to thee, and make thy
spirits all of comfort!" Anthony and Cleopatra, III ii
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