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Re: HEADERS, FOR whom - any ID?

From: Sander Tekelenburg <st@isoc.nl>
Date: Wed, 8 Aug 2007 03:32:23 +0200
Message-Id: <p06240621c2dec1813195@[]>
To: <public-html@w3.org>

At 19:27 -0500 UTC, on 2007-08-07, Robert Burns wrote:

> On Aug 7, 2007, at 6:57 PM, Sander Tekelenburg wrote:


>> Having the label on either side of a control is not always
>> presentational. It
>> may sometimes be, but at other times it may well be logical. Look at
>> <http://webrepair.org/strategy/known%20systems#filter> for instance.
> I can't tell which example you're referring to. [...]
> Are you referring to the Search form at  the bottom of the page?

Yes. That's what the fragment identifier points to ;) (But I'll grant you
that AFAIK only lynx, links and iCab do actually indicate it clearly when the
anchor happens to be close to the end of the document -- submit a bug report
with your favourite browser vendor ;)).

> If so, then I'm still not seeing the issue. I
> see a FIELDSET with three controls: an INPUT submit with no label; a
> SELECT with a LABEL displayed to the left; 3) and an INPUT text with
> no label.

That's the one I meant, yes. (Sorry, I actually overlooked the first control,
because I had only just very recently placed it there -- it used to be at the
end of the form.)

> In any event, I wasn't using "logical" in that way. It may well make
> sense to present a label above, below, besides or between controls.

It depends on the text of the label and the control. Except for some simple
cases, it seems unlikely to me that it is easy to author that text such that
it makes sense either way around. Once that is the case, CSS should *not*
mess that up. (Which it could, by not being supported or available, or maybe
even when naively defined by the user.) That's what "present" means to me.
"Presentation" is a means to convey meaning, whereas "logic" is a the
definition of that meaning. In the example I gave I don't see how the meaning
could be defined in any other way than through the text, which you cannot
move parts of around with CSS without messing up the conveyance of that

> It is logical to do so, as in it makes sense to present it that way.

I'm using "logical" and "presentational" in the HTML/CSS context. Logic
applies to content/structure/meaning. Presentation applies to conveying those.


> The other source of confusion here is you seem to be reading me as
> saying "presentational" as in "merely presentational". I do not think
> of presentation as something unimportant or incapable of conveying
> subtleties in meaning.

We're talking about author CSS in this case (because only the author can know
whether the text of the label makes sense at one or the other side of a
control). Author CSS is incapable of conveying any meaning when it is not
available. Not all UAs support CSS and not all UAs that do will always have
it switched on. There might even simply be a (network; server
misconfiguration) problem fetching the Style Sheet (when it is a separate

Thus the HTML itself must be usable without CSS. It wouldn't be if you'd rely
on CSS to switch a label from one end of a control to the other. CSS can help
to convey (or obscure) meaning; not define it.


> Would something like this convey the
> meaning (and presentation) of that FIELDSET?
> <style type='text/css'>
> 	fieldset > label {label-side: left;}

That wouldn't work. See above.

The HTML below might solve the issue of one label for multiple controls, but
I wonder what such markup would imply. How should a UA treat that in a manner
that is useful for the user?

> <fieldset>
> 	<input name="submit" type="submit" value="Show systems">
> 	 <label>whose name
> 		<select id="NameBool" name="NameIsContains">
> 			<option value="contains" selected>contains</option>
> 			<option value="is">is</option>
> 		</select>
> 		<input id="NameString" type="text" name="name" size="12" value="">
> </label>
> Again, this is only hypothetical. I'm not saying this should work in
> existing browsers.


Sander Tekelenburg
The Web Repair Initiative: <http://webrepair.org/>
Received on Wednesday, 8 August 2007 01:39:03 UTC

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