[uf-discuss] rel-edit

Evan Prodromou evan at prodromou.name
Fri May 25 18:06:57 PDT 2007

Hi, everybody.

** Context **

So, on the tail of RecentChangesCamp Montreal
(http://www.rocococamp.info/), there's an effort to work out some
universal conventions for wiki engines to indicate that a page is

The current focus is on an icon next to the "edit this page" link (or
language equivalent) to indicate that the link activates a tool
(probably a page with an HTML form, but possibly a WYSIWYG edit mode)
that will let the user edit the page.

You can follow this discussion here:


The idea is to make something as ubiquitous as the RSS "orange radio
waves" icon.

** rel-edit **

An icon will be helpful for human beings, but it could also be very
useful to define a microformat for "the edit link". This link is almost
universal in the wikisphere. There are several hundred wiki engines in
active use today:


In terms of pages on the Web, there are literally millions of pages with
"edit" links on Wikimedia projects alone. Adding in the thousands of
other wikis on the web, this is a very common link relationship.

A well-defined microformat would not be limited to wikis; it would also
be useful for other kinds of editable Web pages or sections thereof. In
particular, for certain content-management systems, there is sometimes
an "edit" link (when the current user has rights to edit the page), as
well as for certain blogging software. If carefully managed, editable
comments or forum posts could have their edit-links marked, too.

The microformat would be useful for formatting directives (for example,
the above-mentioned icon could be placed before or after the link using
CSS). It could also be useful for smart Web browsers or browser
extensions; they could use an additional gesture, command key, button,
or menu input to let the user "edit this page".

I think this microformat would be best defined using the semantics of
the "rel" attribute of <a> links. For example, on the "how-to-play" page
on the microformats wiki, this link:

        <a href="/wiki?title=how-to-play&amp;action=edit">Edit</a>

would be changed to:

        <a href="/wiki?title=how-to-play&amp;action=edit" rel="edit">Edit</a>

I'd like to start a draft rel-edit page on microformats.org; but first
I'd like to gather some feedback on this mailing list.



P.S. There may be a case to cover all the "CRUD" actions that can
performed on a page with their own microformats; I'd like to leave that
out of scope for this discussion.


If handled carefully, I think a limited-scope rel-edit would be
compatible and consistent with any future CRUD microformats.

Evan Prodromou <evan at prodromou.name>

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