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Re: About media=handheld?

From: Charles McCathieNevile <chaals@opera.com>
Date: Mon, 03 Dec 2007 10:48:03 +0100
To: Yann <yann.hamon@gmail.com>, public-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <op.t2q6udi0wxe0ny@widsith.lan>

On Fri, 30 Nov 2007 14:15:15 +0100, Yann <yann.hamon@gmail.com> wrote:

> HTML4 defines a set of basic HTML data types:
> http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/types.html#type-media-descriptors
> It also defines a "handheld" type:
>   *handheld*Intended for handheld devices (small screen, monochrome,  
>   bitmapped graphics, limited bandwidth).

> Nowadays handheld devices are neither
> monochrome nor limited to bitmaps, in fact the iphone is probably the  
> first one of many to integrate a mobile browsers

(No, but it is only about half-a-dozen years behind. Anyway, the point  
that it represents an area growing in importance now is valid)

> ... As these data types are defined in the html4 spec, I
> thought this remark would be relevant for this list, sorry if I am  
> mistaken.
> In the future, I want to make my website available to mobile devices  
> using only an alternative stylesheet, as I currently already do for
> printing.

The first issue is whether the browser supports handheld. Apple and Nokia  
don't - they claim that the screen on their browsers is equivalent to a  
full desktop screen, so it uses the "screen" media type.

Opera Mobile and Opera Mini have two modes - "desktop mode" (where you  
look at the overview and then zoom in) and "mobile mode" (sometimes called  
"fit to width") where it adapts the rendering to suit the device. In  
"mobile mode", if there is a handheld stylesheet it is applied (just as  
you have for print).

> Any way this could be redefined and clarified for HTML5? :

The current draft has the media attribute, and says:
The media attribute says which media the styles apply to. The value must  
be a valid media query. [MQ] User agents must only apply the styles to  
views while their state match the listed media. [DOM3VIEWS]

The default, if the media attribute is omitted, is all, meaning that by  
default styles apply to all media.
]]] - http://www.w3.org/html/wg/html5/#refsMQ

(The references don't point anywhere so you have to guess what they mean,  
but I guess that [MQ] == CSS3 Media Queries)

>   *handheld*Intended for handheld devices (small screen,
>   limited bandwidth, reduced amount of colours).

A handheld device is likely to have a small screen (otherwise it won't fit  
in my hand). But many now have WiFi, and high-quality 200dpi screens are  
also available. It is also relatively likely not to have the same input -  
keypad, joystick, touch screen rather than a traditional keyboard. Even  
those with "full" keyboards don't really have a full keyboad, they  
typically just have enough keys for the alphabet and a bit more.

I agree that it would be valuable to have an updated definition.  
Unfortunately the Media Queries specification doesn't do anything to  
describe what are legitimate media types (just how to make things more  
complex if you happen to want to, as is required to serve content that  
adapts to the iPhone and works on the Web in general), so it is not clear  
that it would be the place to update the definition. However, the draft  
for CSS 2.1 does indeed update it, saying handheld is

Intended for handheld devices (typically small screen, limited bandwidth).
]]] - http://www.w3.org/TR/CSS21/media.html#media-types

That draft was published after the Media Queries draft.

So hopefully this is just a case of getting all the references lined up  
properly - it seems the right things are being said in the right places,  
but some of the references are not so hot (or abssent completely). Ideally  
the Media Queries spec would reference the set of types in CSS 2.1 instead  
of in HTML4, which would resolve the issue.



Charles McCathieNevile  Opera Software, Standards Group
     je parle français -- hablo español -- jeg lærer norsk
http://my.opera.com/chaals              Try the Kestrel - Opera 9.5 alpha
Received on Monday, 3 December 2007 09:48:13 UTC

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