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Re: Marking up links to alternative versions of content

From: Jason White <jason@jasonjgw.net>
Date: Thu, 2 Aug 2007 10:37:46 +1000
To: public-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <20070802003746.GB4224@jpc.local>

On Wed, Aug 01, 2007 at 08:30:52PM +0200, Sander Tekelenburg wrote:
> Skipping for a moment whether UAs actually do anything with <a
> rel="alternate">, I wonder what it should *mean* in this case. The markup
> doesn't define what it is an alternate for. So I'd guess that it could only
> be interpreted as an alternate for the entire document.

It could instead be defined as an alternative to the parent element. <video>
and <audio> have transparent content models and can appear in strictly inline
contexts, hence could serve as parents of <a rel="alternate"> links.

However, there are two difficultes with the rel="alternate" anchor proposal:

1. UAs treat links as requiring explicit activation actions on the part of the
user. As with @alt and <object> fallbacks, however, it should not be necessary
for the user to take explicit action to download and render an alternative to
a media element that he or she cannot, or has chosen not to, render.

2. Since a rel="alternate" link cannot specify to which element it is an
alternative, it cannot serve as an alternative to <embed>, since the latter is
specified as having an empty content model. Thus, rel="alternate" doesn't
solve the problem that it was intended to address of providing an explicit
association between media elements and corresponding alternative content. To
overcome this, an additional attribute of type idref would have to be

This is why I would prefer the introduction of a new element, <alt> to carry
alternative content, assuming that <audio> <video> and <embed> are going to
remain in the spec.
Received on Thursday, 2 August 2007 00:38:00 UTC

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