Improving Web Linking Using XLink

David Lowe, Erik Wilde


Although the Web has continuously grown and evolved since its introduction in 1989, the technical foundations have remained relatively unchanged. Of the basic technologies, URLs and HTTP has remained stable for some time now, and only HTML has changed more frequently. However, the introduction of XML has heralded a substantial change in the way in which content can be managed. One of the most significant of these changes is with respect to the greatly enhanced model for linking functionality that is enabled by the emerging XLink and XPointer standards. These standards have the capacity to fundamentally change the way in which we utilise the Web, especially with respect to the way in which users interact with information. In this paper, we will discuss some of the richer linking functionality that XLink and XPointer enable — particularly with respect to aspects such as content transclusion, multiple source and destination links, generic linking, and the use of linkbases to add links into content over which the author has no control. The discussions will be illustrated with example XLink code fragments, and will emphasise the particular uses to which these linking concepts can be put.


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