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

Re: HTML5's Q element

From: T.J. Crowder <tj@crowdersoftware.com>
Date: Sat, 5 Sep 2009 15:46:08 +0100
Message-ID: <c95470a0909050746g123e88f3h8999c835562f442d@mail.gmail.com>
To: Chris Hoffman <mistermuckle@gmail.com>
Cc: public-html-comments@w3.org
Chris,

I don't think the debate was whether <q> had a useful purpose, but
whether having the spec say that UAs should provide the quotation
marks was a good idea.  But again, that ship has sailed.:-)

-- T.J.


2009/9/5 Chris Hoffman <mistermuckle@gmail.com>:
> I apologize for stretching this thread out longer than it needs to be,
> but wanted to point out that one of the things that <q> can do that
> in-source quotation marks cannot is provide machine-parsable
> citations/sources for the quoted material. For example, a news site
> that used <q> could be easily be scanned for recent quotes from
> President Obama. I can see that opening up a host of interesting
> possibilities.
>
> Chris
>
> On Sat, Sep 5, 2009 at 3:53 AM, T.J. Crowder<tj@crowdersoftware.com> wrote:
>> Art,
>>
>> I read the localization point exactly opposite to the way you do (the
>> author surely is in a better position to determine what punctuation is
>> best suited to their content), but I'm not sure that this conversation
>> is really serving a purpose anymore and am bowing out of it.
>>
>> -- T.J.
>>
>>
>>
>> 2009/9/5 Arthur Clifford <art@artspad.net>:
>>> 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 Saturday, 5 September 2009 14:47:08 GMT

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