Xpointer is a common abbreviation for XML pointer language, which is, in turn, a portion of the complete XML specification that was developed and is now maintained by the W3C. It deals with XML fragment identifiers, which are hyperlinks that point not to a general website or file, but to a specific section, headline or position of content in the target destination. In HTML and websites, use of these pointers also requires the setting of an anchor to point to.
Technipages Explains Xpointer
XML Pointers are used to point a user to a specific location. In the context of a browser, this could be a specific spot halfway down the page for example. In order to set them up, the creator of the website needs to set an anchor point. That point has a name, and via a small modification to the URL, the user can then be sent directly to that location. This could look like this: www.example.com/home vs. www.example.com/home#anchor.
These pointers can get quite sophisticated and even use query languages in order to extend their functionalities to include dynamic content or to apply certain styles and additional functions. Xpointer was established by WC3 in 2003. Its backend is made up a total of four different elements. The positional element and address scheme mentioned above as well as a framework that can identify XML fragments – this will be part of the browser – and a scheme for namespaces. These four parts need to come together for Xpointer elements to work as intended.
Common Uses of Xpointer
- Xpointer is an abbreviation for XML pointer language, which in turn is short for extensible markup language.
- XML pointers require browser and HTML support to work.
- Without the WC3, Xpointers would not exist.
Common Misuses of Xpointer
- Xpointer uses pointers instead of URLs.