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Subject: Re: [dita] ITEM: Cross-references to Topicheads and ImplicitTitle-only Topics

On 4/6/09 10:07 PM, "Michael Priestley" <mpriestl@ca.ibm.com> wrote:

> Re:
>> Michael is confusing the semantic of the *link* with the form of address.
>> The semantic of the link *cannot* be determined by the form of address.
> Keyref unequivocally points to the thing the topicref with the key points
> to. It is called keyref for that reason. Href unequivocally points to the
> thing being addressed directly - just like any normal href attribute.

I absolutely *do not* agree with this statement.

A key reference points to a *key-defining topicref*. Stop end of story. It
is an address. It is the thing *with the key* that determines what the
ultimate target of the original reference is, which could be the thing with
the key or the thing the thing with the key points to. The semantics of
indirection are bound to topicrefs that define keys, not keyrefs.

Keyref, by itself, is not an indirection, it is just a pointer to a thing
with a key. 

That is the way addressing works.

If we want to remain silent on what it means to xref to a topicref, fine,
the 1.2 spec will be no more ambiguous or underspecified than the 1.1 spec
is. The use or non-use of keyref doesn't change that.

However, the existence of keyref, with the specific intent that topicrefs so
addressed do in fact act as indirectors, I feel *demands* that *any* use of
topicref provide the same behavior in the absence of a way for authors to
indicate their intent. I have suggested that there is an existing facility
that can be used to indicate that intent.

Or said another way: the design of *any* useful hypermedia system *must* be
formulated such that the details of addressing can be changed without
changing the semantics of the links that use those addresses.

This is a fundamental principle of hypermedia systems, one explicitly
codified by the W3C in the design of the Web and codified in ISO/IEC 10744
(HyTime). It would be a SERIOUS MISTAKE for DITA not to do the same thing
and I would protest such a move in the strongest possible terms.

I don't know how to make this any clearer.

I am *not* proposing a change in existing semantics. I am proposing that we
clarify what is already inherent in the *1.1* design and made more clear by
the existence of keyref in 1.2.

I will also stress that this discussion started because a number of users
asked the question "what does it mean to xref to topicrefs?" I think we have
an obligation to answer that question. I'm simply saying that "it depends on
the form of address" is not an acceptable answer, for the reasons given


Eliot Kimber | Senior Solutions Architect | Really Strategies, Inc.
email:  ekimber@reallysi.com <mailto:ekimber@reallysi.com>
office: 610.631.6770 | cell: 512.554.9368
2570 Boulevard of the Generals | Suite 213 | Audubon, PA 19403
www.reallysi.com <http://www.reallysi.com>  | http://blog.reallysi.com
<http://blog.reallysi.com> | www.rsuitecms.com <http://www.rsuitecms.com> 

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