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RE: HTML5's Q element

From: Arthur Clifford <art@artspad.net>
Date: Fri, 4 Sep 2009 16:28:29 -0700
To: <public-html-comments@w3.org>
Message-ID: <005401ca2db7$693f6d70$0e14a8c0@iMacPCVirtualMachine>
Quotes have semantic value when a human is reading a document (obviously);
however, HTML is not for humans to read. A well formed DOM will provide a
hierarchical data structure that takes care of describing the parts of a
document. In which case quote characters are not relevant to the HTML
experience. The q-tag is what is semantically significant to an HTML
interpreter and that interpreter can decide how best to present the content
for final consumption by the end user. 

You actually argued against yourself with the cultural variation point.
Somebody else brought up localization recently, a q tag can have a different
style applied based on location and therefore provide the demarcation for
the quoted content that is appropriate for that locale, meaning greater
flexibility in allowing for the same content to be consumable in any
cultural context. Likewise, a different style can be applied for sending to
a professional printer where they may want the open and closed quote marks. 

I agree with you that it is moot as far as this tag is concerned. But the
discussion speaks to the overall approach to defining the spec and what we
should reasonably ask for and expect. For instance, is there a similar tag
for exclamations? In Spanish an exclamation is preceded by an upside-down
exclamation mark and ended with a right-side up one (I realize I just
defined the exclamation mark I'm used to as 'right-side' up, no offense to
any international readers). One could argue that if quotes are defined for
the q-tag that similar styling should be available for exclamations. If the
browser-vendors aren't dictating that behavior, shouldn't they? If the
standard is grudgingly being tailored to suit the browser-vendors without
understanding their motives or their logic then we fail to benefit from the
advantages of what they asked for in other areas of the spec. 

Art C
Arthur Clifford

-----Original Message-----
From: public-html-comments-request@w3.org
[mailto:public-html-comments-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of T.J. Crowder
Sent: Friday, September 04, 2009 3:49 PM
To: art@artspad.net
Cc: public-html-comments@w3.org
Subject: Re: HTML5's Q element

Art,

I don't think we have it backward at all, quotes absolutely have
semantic value, not to mention the huge degree of individual and
cultural variation related to them.  As a 20+ year software engineer,
I can tell you I don't even want to come anywhere near writing code
around that quagmire.

But I *do* think Ian's point that this has been specified for over 10
years is the absolute last word (see my most recent note on this).  I
don't see respecifying it now, that would be asinine.

-- T.J.

2009/9/4 Arthur Clifford <art@artspad.net>:
> Ryan and TJ,
>
>
>
> I think you have things backward.
>
>
>
> In HTML tags are what identify the structure/content/semantics of a
> document. Quotation marks (“) have no semantic value at all. The q tag on
> the other hand identifies a section of text as being a quote. Since q tags
> identify something as a quote, as an object within the document, it makes
> more sense to affiliate the symbols to surround the quoted text during
> display with the objects themselves; meaning it makes more sense to have
the
> q tag dictate quote marks. As a programmer I will tell you that if I
wanted
> to identify quoted material I’d much rather parse a well-formed html
> document for a q and /q  tag than “ marks. Besides “ is not a quote mark
in
> printing, there are open and closed quote marks.
>
>
>
> I understand the frustration regarding the argument that because the
browser
> vendors do it that’s the way it is going to be. I also understand Ian’s
> perspective, but I would say the browser vendors went the way they did
> because it makes more sense from a development perspective and ultimately
a
> user experience to do things that way. The syntax of any programming
> language first and foremost is designed to make parsing it for use by the
> software into a data structure. If you think of html as informing an
object
> model, then your opinion about quotes and q-tags becomes more and more
> invalid. The current implementation of q is far more flexible for the
> greatest number of outputs and use-cases.
>
>
>
> Ian missed a method of styling quotes the way you want:
>
>
>
> <p>blah blah blah, “<span style=”RyanQuotes”>some really awesome
> quote</span>”</p>
>
>
>
> Art C
>
> Arthur Clifford
>
>
>
> ________________________________
>
> From: public-html-comments-request@w3.org
> [mailto:public-html-comments-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Ryan Roberts
> Sent: Friday, September 04, 2009 3:11 PM
> To: Ian Hickson
> Cc: public-html-comments@w3.org
>
> Subject: Re: HTML5's Q element
>
>
>
> Ian Hickson wrote:
>
> On Fri, 4 Sep 2009, Ryan Roberts wrote:
>
>
>
> 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>.
>
>
>
> This makes little sense. What you're saying is <q> has no semantic
>
> purpose anymore, it's there for presentation (see your further down).
>
>
>
>
>
> I'm not sure what you mean by "semantic purpose". In what sense is all of
>
> HTML not just "there for presentation"?
>
>
>
> The whole point of HTML is to be a media-independent, platform-
>
> independent, stylable documenta and application language. Presentation (on
>
> multiple media, devices, etc) is the most important use case.
>
>
>
>
>
> Maybe I'm not explaining myself properly, I'm just a web designer and
nobody
> fancy. I believed many if not most elements such as <q>, were there to
> describe the content. I see now this isn't the case with <q>, but it's
only
> really like that because it's broken and nobody wants to fix it.
>
> 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.
>
>
>
>
>
> Then hand the spec over to them.
>
>
>
>
>
> In what sense have we not handed the spec over to them? Browser vendors,
>
> as the most high-profile implementors of the spec, have full control over
>
> what ends up being implemented. I'm not going to make the spec say
>
> somethin they won't do; that would just turn the spec into an especially
>
> dry form of science fiction.
>
>
>
>
>
> I understand that they have final say over what goes in their browsers,
but
> I can't say I like them having final say over the HTML5 spec itself.
>
>
>
>
>
>
> 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>.
>
>
>
> So at this point how do you mark up an inline quote?
>
>
>
>
>
> One of the following:
>
>
>
>    <p>Ryan asked "So at this point how do you mark up an inline
>
>    quote?"</p>
>
>
>
>    <p>Ryan asked <q>So at this point how do you mark up an inline
>
>    quote?</q></p>
>
>
>
>
>
> In that case why not have <p> auto inert a period then we could have the
> following:
>
> Ryan doesn't like what he's hearing.
>
> <p>Ryan doesn't like what he's hearing</p>
>
>
>
> Ryan
>
> --
> Web Designer
>
>
>
> Web: http://ryanroberts.co.uk
>
> Email: hello@ryanroberts.co.uk
>
> Phone: 07759 917 964
Received on Friday, 4 September 2009 23:29:11 GMT

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