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Subject: Re: [dita] ITEM: Cross-references to Topicheads and Implicit Title-onlyTopics

>Remember too that DITA 1.2 is adding new feature, the ability to point from
>non-xref elements to topicrefs (via keyref) but it always had the ability to
>use xref to point to map components. So the addition of keyref doesn't
>actually change anything about either the ability to create
>topic-element-to-map-element relationships.

I'm just going to poke at this a bit. It has always had the ability to use xref to point to map components, but the resolution of those links has never been defined before. I think you have gone with the conclusion that they should be resolved as an indirection mechanism, and that's a logical conclusion, but it's not the only possible conclusion.

For example, let's say I have a standard infocenter layout: nav on the left, content on the right. Let's say that the content is one big file, and the nav points to anchor points inside that file (the topics). If I click on a nav entry, it scrolls the content pane to the right topic. If I click on an xref in the content pane that points to a nav entry, wouldn't it be reasonable to scroll the nav pane to that entry?

The use of keyref is unambiguous - an xref with a keyref points to whatever the topicref with the key points to (which might be a topic, or might be another nav entry for that matter).

But the use of href to point to a topicref is ambiguous. It does not necessarily mean pointing to the topicref's target, because there are situations in which it might be desirable to link to locations within the navigation context.

I'm inclined for 1.2 to leave the resolution of xrefs to topicrefs undefined, just because I think the logical solution will vary depending on output (and specifically, whether locations in the navigation context are addressable or not in the output media). This doesn't disallow your current use, but doesn't prevent others from exploring alternate uses. And with the addition of keyref in 1.2, there will be a standardized mechanism for indirection which is considerably more powerful than the use of topicrefs on their own (like the ability to put multiple keys on a single topicref), so we will have a solid indirection mechanism and don't need to standardize topicrefs as a competing mechanism.

Michael Priestley, Senior Technical Staff Member (STSM)
Lead IBM DITA Architect

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