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Subject: Re: DOCBOOK: Re: Proposal: Linking in DocBook

Norman Walsh wrote:

> | I recognize importance of standards and I think that adopting XLink is
> | reasonable way. But current proposal will left DocBook in quite
> | unnatural state IMHO, where some linking will be made "old way" like
> | <xref linkend="foo"/> or <ulink url="bar">...</ulink> while other
> | linking will use XLink semantic like <glossterm xlink:href="#foo"/>. I
> | think that this will look very odd -- some pointers inside other place
> | in document will use just ID, some else will use fragment identifier
> | (#ID). This might be very confusing.
> True. Perhaps the subsequent proposals are a bad idea. (That's why I
> made them entirely separate.) OTOH, if we add XLink links, the only
> way to get complete uniformity again would be to deprecate and remove
> all of the "old" linking elements (or at least the old attributes).

That (removing "old" linking attributes) seems reasonable 
> | I would preffer going 3rd way and keep DocBook compact. If we should go
> | XLink way, I think that it will be better to change all linking into
> | XLink (including e.g. xref, ulink, link) way and keep DocBook
> | consistent. Unfortunatelly this change will be backward incompatible,
> | but it will be very easy to fix old documents (mostly be replacing
> | linkend="..." to xlink:href="#...").
> I had thought we could do this in stages: adding new linking
> constructs in a non-backwards compatible way and then perhaps making
> some backwards incompatible changes in the future.
> Are you saying that you'd prefer an "all at once" approach, delaying
> any linking changes until V6.0, and then simultaneously replacing all
> of our linking elements with XLink and adding new linking?

Doing it in stages as you are suggesting is probably more appropriate.
In that case I would preffer following solution:

1. Add new XLink attributes to all elements (including xref, ulink, ...)
in 4.3 or 5.x version of DocBook, and make linkend attribute FU (yeah,
I'm learning new abbreviations;-)

2. Remove all old linking in 6.0 and allow only XLink links

Problem of this solution is that transitional version (be it 4.3 or 5)
will allow two ways of specifying links on old linking elements (<ulink
url="..."/> and <ulink xlink:href="..."/>, <xref linkend="..."/> and
<xref xlink:href="#..."/>). Documentation should clearly state that
these attributes are mutually exclusive and stylesheets could issue
warning on every element with both linking attributes.

This approach allows consistent usage of linking, you are not forced to
mix "old" way and XLink if you don't want.

Just my 0.02 CZK


  Jirka Kosek  	                     
  e-mail: jirka@kosek.cz

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