[whatwg] link by name instead of url

Ashley Sheridan ash at ashleysheridan.co.uk
Wed Apr 28 03:03:25 PDT 2010

On Wed, 2010-04-28 at 12:45 +0300, Eitan Adler wrote:

> This is an idea I've had in my head for a while and I think it might
> make an useful addition to HTML5 standard.
> As this is just an idea I didn't work out all the details. I'm just
> looking to see if this is something that might be accepted.
> Use case 1:
> A document author wants to provide a link to some site. This site has
> multiple versions of the page depending on where you live (think
> google.co.uk, google.co.hk, google.com etc)
> Use case 2:
> A document author wants to ask users to share his page via the users
> preferred social network. Something like
> Please <a href="http://facebook.com">tell your friends</a> about this site!
> Use case 3:
> A document author wants to provide a link to search for more
> information on a preferred search engine.
> I'd like to leverage the user's bookmarks in these cases by allowing
> authors to specify markup like
> case 1: <a goto="google">google</a>
> case 2: <a goto="social-network">tell your friends</a>
> case 3: <a goto="search">search!<a>
> The UA would be responsible for determining which site to link to. A
> href could be provided as a fallback for old browsers or for sites
> where the user did not yet make a choice.

case 1: I don't think a browser could be that aware of a website. While
you see google.co.uk and google.cn as just different language versions
of the same site, a browser see's two different domain names entirely. I
think it's a dangerous assumption to just link the two domains by their
first parts, as that is no guarantee that they are the same site or even
owned by the same people, and the whois for a domain isn't always
reliable as registrars often register a domain in their company name
rather than for the individual.

case 2: each of these types of social sharing sites tends to have their
own mechanism for sharing content which is generally in the form of a
link. A UA would have to be aware of each specific one and the format of
URL to pass them. This would potentially lead to some sites not offering
links to share to certain websites because the UA isn't aware of them.

case 3: I'm not sure this offers anything that a user can't already
easily get themselves. Most browsers now allow multiple search engines
to be attached and swapped in and out easily. For example, in Firefox I
can easily switch between searching Google, Dictionary.com or Wikipedia.
It wouldn't make sense for most websites to offer anything but the first
one out of my list of three there. Often as well, a website might have a
particular reason for delivering traffic to a specific search engine. A
site that uses Google as a mechanism for searching it's own site might
naturally offer this as an option to search the Web (if it offered this
at all, which seems a strange thing to do anyway)


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