W3C Advances Web Document Specification

The Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C) has made
progress in its endeavor to combine two technologies whose purpose is
creating lively Web documents.


The group issued the Document Object Model (DOM) Level 3 XPath Specification, which is geared to
fuse the DOM and XPath technologies, which are often inconsistent with each other.


DOM is the application programming interface (API) for how objects in a Web
page — text, images, headers — are represented. The DOM defines what
attributes are associated with each object, and how the objects can be
manipulated. It makes it easier for Web developers to create Web pages that
are more animated and functional. XPath, a language for addressing parts of an XML document, is becoming an important part of a variety of many specifications including
XForms, XPointer, XSL and XML Query.


The W3C explained the reason for the specification: “This specification was
created to map between the Document Object Model’s representation of the W3C
Information Set and XPath’s model to permit XPath functions to be supplied
and results returned within the framework of DOM APIs in a standard,
interoperable way, allowing also for liveness of data, which is not
addressed by the XPath specification but is present in results coming from
the DOM…”


In simple terms, the W3C sees DOM and XPath as complementary and has
embarked on a task to marry the two for an even greater level of
functionality for Web documents. To that end, the mapping of how the two
will work together has been issued as a candidate recommendation, which
means it has one more step to go in the group’s long, thorough
recommendation process.


The Document Object Model (DOM) Level 3 XPath Specification is slated to be
reviewed over the next two months by the W3C DOM Working Group, culminating
on May 26. Vendors who work within the W3C DOM Working Group include
Arbortext, Corel, IBM, Netscape, Oracle and X-Hive.

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