xpointer - just a location mechanism?

Roger L. Costello costello at mitre.org
Thu Dec 16 16:32:34 GMT 1999

Hi Folks,

I am making my way through the latest xpointer spec.  I may be missing
something (I am not finished reading it) but it appears that the spec
does not support the xLink capability of embedding[1] a portion of an
XML document into the currently active document.  Consider this simple
xLink with a xpointer:


This hyperlink should result in extracting out of BookCatalogue.xml the
subtree referenced by the first Book element, and embedding it into the
current active document.  (This is my understanding of how this should
work.  Please correct me if I am in error.)

The xpointer spec states that an XPointer is simply a location
mechanism.  In section 2.4 it states:

"XPointers are not a general query mechanism, they are a specification
of document locations."

I read this as saying "an xpointer defines how to move a cursor around
in an XML document.  It does not describe what a location means in terms
of nodes (or strings) being referenced."  

If the spec doesn't describe what the movement of a cursor to a location
means in terms of node lists (or strings) then how is it going to
support the xLink embed mechanism?  /Roger

[1] From the xLink spec: "The parsed option (of the show attribute),
relating directly to the XML concept of a parsed entity, indicates that
the content should be integrated into the document from which the link
was actuated."

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