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XPath, XLink, XPointer, and XML: A Practical Guide to Web Hyperlinking and Transclusion
by Erik Wilde, David Lowe

Availability: Currently unavailable

Edition: Paperback

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Editorial Reviews
From Book News, Inc.
Wilde (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Switzerland) and Lowe (engineering, U. of Technology, Australia) explain the application to Internet hypertext of the extensible markup language (XML) and its related protocols. The approach incorporates a method of including content via references that retain the original context, a process dubbed "transclusion." After describing the conceptual background of the approach, the authors show how to apply it to the representation of content on the Inter net.Book News, Inc.®, Portland, OR

Book Info
Contains the most thorough documentation of XML's linking standards currently available, and it examines how today's enabling technologies are likely to change the Web of tomorrow. Softcover.

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Product Details
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Pearson Education; 1st edition (July 23, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 0201703440
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 7.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds.
  • Average Customer Review: based on 2 reviews.
  • Amazon.com Sales Rank: #774,603 in Books
  • (Publishers and authors: improve your sales)

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Customer Reviews
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:

understanding a standard, September 15, 2003
Reviewer: A reader
I found that the author did a really good job in describing these technologies.

This book is written by two academic and it shows in so far as it is on the one hand a little more theoretical and abstract than most other computer book I read and on the other hand well informed by a large context.

The book starts by describing the different hypertext system that exist and existed alongside with the world wide web. In doing so they explain clearly how HTML linking model came into being and the deficiencies of this model.

The remainder of a book is in part a preview into the future of XML linking (where these technologies are going) as well as an explanation of Xpath, Xlink and Xpointer syntax.

As you probably know, Xlink is still a W3C working draft at this time. Xpointer is a W3C recommendation but neither xpointer, nor xlink have been largely implemented in the industry. This raise the question as to why would you read this book?

Personally I wanted to know where the linking model was going and I also wanted to understand the W3C working draft better. To a lesser extend, I was considering implementing these technologies.

My only objection to the book is its subtitle "A practical guide...". Practical is a relative term. This book gives very valuable pointers (no pun intended) for developpers wishing to implement these technologies but it does not give very practical down to earth examples. In some other web ressources, I found for instance some XSLT code to tranform Xlink into scripting languages that simulate the xlink functionality and to tell the truth I was expecting to find this kind of material here.

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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful:

Hyperlinks and the Semantic Web, October 4, 2002
Reviewer:W Boudville (US) - See all my reviews
If you are like most, your introduction to hypertext was when you used a browser for the first time. You saw how intuitive it was that links were visible on a web page, and how easy it was to click on a link and be taken anyplace else on the web. The great acceptance of the web and its browsers was due in no small part to the ease of use, and the ease of writing HTML pages.

Then after a few years, some deficiencies became apparent. HTML does not separate content from presentation. To do so, XML arose, with its user definable tags.

But XML, by itself, does not take the concept of linking beyond a link being a one way connection between a single source and a single destination. Yet the concept of hyperlinks is much broader and older than the web's instantiation, having been worked on in the 1960s by Nelson and Englebart.

This book expounds on how hyperlinks generalise the links in HTML. You can have multiple sources and multiple destinations. The links can be bidirectional. Given a destination, you can find the documents with sources that link to it. Currently, with web pages, you have to use a search engine to see who links to your pages. And no search engine reaches over 50% of the web.

The book describes the concept of a linkbase: a database of links. It can be stored separately from the underlying documents that it references. This lets you annotate a document without changing it! Imagine the possibilities. The document could be on a CDROM, or on someone else's website.

The implementation of these concepts is through XLink, XPath and XPointer. The authors use Backus-Naur Formalism to describe the grammar and they illustrate it with examples. My only quibble is that perhaps they could have written problem sets, for newcomers to cut their teeth on.

If you want to see a possible future direction of the Semantic Web, have a gander at this book.

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