W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html-comments@w3.org > September 2009

Re: HTML5's Q element

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Fri, 4 Sep 2009 20:56:21 +0000 (UTC)
To: Seth Call <sethcall@gmail.com>, "T.J. Crowder" <tj@crowdersoftware.com>, Ryan Roberts <hello@ryanroberts.co.uk>, Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>, Arthur Clifford <art@artspad.net>
Cc: public-html-comments@w3.org, Yahia Chlyeh <cyahia@gmail.com>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.62.0909042053250.6775@hixie.dreamhostps.com>
On Wed, 2 Sep 2009, Seth Call wrote:
> For IE8, FF 3.5, and Opera 10 (although not Safari 4), this behavior of 
> adding quotes is done with the default CSS style sheet of the browser; 
> not in the HTML rendering itself.
> If you style q like so:
> q:before {
> >   content: no-open-quote;
> > }
> >
> > q:after {
> >   content: no-close-quote;
> > }
> >
> Then the quotes go away in those 3 browsers.

On Wed, 2 Sep 2009, T.J. Crowder wrote:
> Having the UA add the quotes is not a good idea, and will almost 
> certainly lead to hacks like UAs looking to see if the quotes are 
> already there and only adding them if they're not.
> Even if IE8, FF3.5, et. al. and such are already doing this, they're 
> implementing the bleeding edge of this spec and should be agile enough 
> to cope with changes to it as it is finalised.

On Wed, 2 Sep 2009, Ryan Roberts wrote:
> Whether it's no common or not it's a bad idea that needs changing sooner 
> rather than later.

On Thu, 3 Sep 2009, Henri Sivonen wrote:
> It's a bad idea, sure. But it doesn't follow that <q> in itself is a 
> good idea and needs changing.
> My conclusion is that adding quotes is a bad idea *and* <q> in itself 
> isn't particularly useful. Thus, the solution is not to use <q> in 
> newly-authored documents.
> Hixie, maybe <q> should be obsolete but conforming...

On Thu, 3 Sep 2009, Arthur Clifford wrote:
> I think this comes down to how HTML/HTML5 is going to be utilized, is it 
> describing a document object model; in which case a quote (or quoted 
> text) is an object and proper display of a quote object should be up to 
> the user agent, as informed by style sheets, thus keeping content and 
> its face separate. Or is HTML merely a markup language, in which case 
> what is the philosophical reason for having a q-tag? When is it used and 
> why?
> Back when there were proof-readers they would mark-up something that 
> should be a quote; isn't that what you're doing in html too? Quoted 
> content needs to be distinguishable from the content around it, which is 
> done with quotation-marks. Shouldn't the marks used in a document for 
> quoted content be identifiable through styles and/or along with a 
> section of quoted text? If so, isn't the quote tag the logical place to 
> define those styles, either in a global style or as a style attribute on 
> the quote tag?
> The localization argument I thought was a compelling argument for the 
> user agent to handle putting in quotes. It is an example of what is 
> possible when you treat a document as a DOM versus just marking up text. 
> If quoted content is treated like an object then things like 
> localization are easier to facilitate.
> I would hope that content-editors such as DreamWeaver would help out by 
> indicating usage of " and q together and would somehow notify the user 
> if that is what they want to do. The specification should recommend 
> against an html renderer doing such checks though. I think people would 
> figure out quickly that things are double-quoted and fixing that 
> shouldn't be hard.

If you want quote marks in the source, use quote marks in the source, and 
don't use <q>.

If you want quote marks added automatically, use <q>.

It would be stupid of us to try to change this now given that all four 
major browsers ship with a <q> that inserts quote marks. This was 
discussed in depth last year, and the spec was changed (from not inserting 
quotes to inserting quotes) after it was concluded that swimming against 
the browser vendors here was futile.

At this point, the <q> element's purpose is to enable CSS-based quotation 
mark injection. If you don't want that, then don't use <q>.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Friday, 4 September 2009 20:53:30 UTC

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