Kilian Valkhof

Building tools that make developers awesome.

Rel for practical use: XPN

CSS & HTML, Web, 22 December 2006, 2 minute read

The rel attribute is an awesome idea: To define the relationship to the page you are linking to. Unfortunately, there is not much practical use for it, outside blogs or communities. Sure, “Friend“, “Met” and “Colleague” are nice, but it doesn’t really add anything outside the blogosphere.

Current “practical” use

I for one don’t feel inclined to add a rel to a single link on my client’s pages. The fact that anything beyond rel="nofollow" doesn’t do anything, doesn’t help either. Besides, nofollow is not something you want on your clients website (A “please, do follow!” would be much appreciated, though ;) ).

I am aware that there are various other uses for the rel attribute, but they all don’t seem to do anything yet, apart from “being there”.

You can already define a lot of relationships through the XFN. But to use rel in a business setting, you need more ways to identify business relationships.


Perhaps not thought the Xhtml Friends Network, but perhaps through such a thing as the “Xhtml Professional Network”, we can expand the uses of the rel attribute.

Rel="client" would be an excellent way to define the links in your portfolio. Rel="developer" would be a good way to link to your own website, for example in the footer of your clients website. Of course, rev would work the other way around.

What does it add, then?

This together would form a nice basis for a “sitemadeby:” search. Next to that, the XPN could be used to “take over” the professional part of XFN, which seems a bit of an outsider in the current system.

So, what do you think of the idea of an XPN? It’s simple and easy, and I think it would sure add to the usefulness of the rel attribute. Do you know any other relations that could be added to the XPN?

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