W3C boosts XML document referencing

Pointing to specific parts of XML documents is expected to become easier through a newly approved World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) recommendation, W3C announced on Tuesday.

W3C issued its XML Pointer Language (XPointer) Recommendation, providing a lightweight, extensible model for identifying parts of XML documents. The recommendation step is the final, formal adoption stage at W3C.

"What XPointer allows is for people to be able to point to different parts of an XML document," said W3C spokeswoman Janet Daly. "You might want to be able to identify a section or fragment in a large document and you want to be able to link to it."

Prior to XPointer, the only way to link to XML documents was to point to the whole document or utilize an identifier of a document part specifically inserted by the document author, Daly said. Now, links can be made to just the specific parts of a document. XPointer already has been implemented in some products, according to Daly.

Comprising the recommendation are the XPointer Framework, providing an extensible model for identifying parts of an XML documents, the XPointer element Scheme, and XPointerXMLns Scheme for XML Namespaces.

The XPointer element Scheme allows the user to point to specific elements in XML documents and data. The XPointerXMLns Scheme brings XML Namespaces to the XPointer Framework, to avoid name collisions between schemes and provide namespaces binding information for use within other schemes, according to W3C. This supports development of personal identifying vocabularies and distinguishing between them.

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