In developing with XML, there comes a point in time during the development that one will need a means of separating links which are considered by the document as a resource versus actual hyperlinks. The means that has been developed for this purpose is that of the XLink. XLink is a W3C specification that is used by an XML developer for describing the links in the XML document and making the determination between internal or external resources.
The first and only developed version of XLink is that of version 1.0. It was back in 2001 that the World Wide Web Consortium approved its status after having been a candidate for less than a year. The XLink itself is a means of defining the attributes associated with any number of possible XML elements. It is capable of determining the differences between two distinct forms of hyper linking which includes that of the extended links which the editor cannot control and that of the basic link which is similar to that of the standard HTML link.
In the creation of these XLink descriptions, one who is familiar with the HTML development syntax will notice the standard link types straight away. In writing a standard link you will need to specify as an anchor, the xlink:type as well as the xlink:href which would be a basic http type link.
Where the extended links are concerned though, this is done a little bit differently. The reason for this difference is that with a standard link, you are linking to only a single resource however in the case of the extended link you can actually point to multiple resources irregardless of whether they are local or remote. This concept is known as arcs which are simply one direction links that the browser or application will have to traverse in order to collect the resources. Furthermore, you can specify it in such a way so that all resources are connected to all the other resources listed in the arc. The extended link allows for the developer to associate metadata as well as other supplemental information to the main resource without ever having to actually modify the XML document that uses the XLinks.
Unfortunately, the Mozilla Firefox browser only offers limited support for XLink currently but more support can be expected over the course of the next few updates. In the cases of which the XML document is being used for the creation of an SVG image, the expansion of XLinks that will be needed to allow this to occur is still under development but one should expect it to be completed over the next few years at the most as the SVG is considered to be the next big thing in web graphics development.
Original Authors: Nick
Edit Update Authors: M.A.Harris
Updated On: 04/03/2009