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Re: authoring @lang and @dir (was 3.6. The root element)

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Tue, 7 Aug 2007 12:51:46 -0700
Cc: Sander Tekelenburg <st@isoc.nl>, public-html@w3.org
Message-Id: <72985C0F-E446-4F3D-8511-4BE8FAB7FF5A@apple.com>
To: Robert Burns <rob@robburns.com>

On Aug 7, 2007, at 11:02 AM, Robert Burns wrote:

> On Aug 7, 2007, at 5:34 AM, Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
>> On Aug 2, 2007, at 12:56 AM, Robert Burns wrote:
>>> BTW, can you provide a use-case for setting @dir to the opposite  
>>> value to what a particular script would usually have (i.e.,  
>>> setting @dir to 'ltr' for Arabic or Hebrew or 'rtl' for Latin or  
>>> Cyrillic or the like). I cannot think of any use-case myself.
>> I can't personally read any RTL scripts, so I can't tell you all  
>> the details offhand. But things can get complicated when mixing  
>> multiple scripts, and I imagine it is often useful to control  
>> neutral text directionality separately.
>> Here is a quick survey I did of a tiny handful of sites in Hebrew,  
>> Arabic and Farsi:
>> http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/arabic/news/ - does not use the dir  
>> attribute at all, so it currently gets the default of ltr
>> http://persianblog.com/home.php - does not use the dir attribute at  
>> all, so it currently gets the default of ltr
>> http://www.google.co.il/ - explicitly sets dir=ltr around a div  
>> that contains hebrew text
>> http://www.walla.co.il/ - does not use dir attribute at all, but  
>> sets both "direction: ltr" and "direction: rtl" via CSS for  
>> different elements
>> These are some of the top sites in their respective languages, so  
>> it's pretty clear to me that for compatibility with web content,  
>> lang and dir must remain independent.
> I'm not sure who you're arguing Maciej. This is the second email  
> you've posted about keeping @lang and @dir independent. No one has  
> suggested collapsing them.

You asked for a use case, I showed you how it's used in the wild. You  
suggested that dir is redundant given lang, and I pointed out it  
isn't. You asked for use cases for making dir something other than the  
natural script direction, and I provided examples of real sites using  
it. Maybe you could clarify what your own point is in discussing dir  
and lang.

In previous post, you said this:

Robert Burns from a previous post:
> I'm not really sure what you're asking. But what I'm trying to say  
> is that fully expressing a language using @lang or @xml:lang  
> provides all of the information required to deduce the  
> directionality. So to take just one of the examples I gave above:
> lang='iw-LATN'=> dir='LTR'
> In that case the @dir attribute is technically redundant.

Was this meant to suggest a change to the spec, or simply an off-topic  

By the way I have seen a number of interactions where you say  
something seemingly incorrect, then object to people pointing it out.  
You both claim they are needlessly argumentative, and deny that you  
made the error they point out. This is a technical list, we are not  
here to score points, but to make a high quality technical  
specification. Flagging technical errors and misunderstandings in  
comments on the spec is a critical part of this process, as much as  
comments on the spec itself. Our goal here is to determine facts, not  
prove how smart we are, and part of that is being graceful in  
admitting error and handling criticism. So I think your reactions to  
disagreement (such as telling Anne "you don't have to respond to every  
post") are not constructive.

If you feel that your post itself was misunderstood, then of course  
feel free to correct that, but we are now getting pretty far removed  
from the spec. I think we now both agree that dir and lang must remain  
independent in implementations and that both need to be allowed in  
conforming content.

Received on Tuesday, 7 August 2007 19:52:03 UTC

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