W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > July 2007

Re: handling fallback content for still images

From: Robert Burns <rob@robburns.com>
Date: Thu, 5 Jul 2007 11:32:54 -0500
Message-Id: <E9B68C41-9EB6-4753-BDCE-9BD17DBC067C@robburns.com>
Cc: HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
To: Smylers <Smylers@stripey.com>

On Jul 5, 2007, at 10:55 AM, Smylers wrote:

> Robert Burns writes:
>> On Jul 5, 2007, at 9:27 AM, James Graham wrote:
>>> It is clear that there is a certian amount of scepticism about the
>>> need or viability of what you are proposing. The correct response
>>> ... is to provide evidence for your position.
>> No, it is not clear that these is skepticism about what I am
>> proposing. There is quite a bit of support for what I am proposing
>> (providing parallel rich fallback content for still images).
> That there is also support says nothing at all about the existence of
> the skepticism; they can easily co-exist.

Certainly they could co-exist, but they're not co-existing in this  
case. You must surely admit that support exist along-side  
irrationality. Why do you believe that can't happen?

>> There is also a few who are responding with quite a bit of irrational
>> resistance to what I am proposing:
> Why do you presume that those who disagree are being irrational?   
> Surely
> James, in asking for evidence in order to be persuaded, is being very
> rational, and indeed skeptical.  Clearly there are differences of
> opinion here; labelling the 'other' viewpoint as irrational does not
> make progress.

Well I'v been struggling to find what does make progress around here.  
This resurgence of the thread started with me simply posting a note  
about a change to the Wiki page. I actually expected no response  
whatsoever. Instead I have an endless parade of posts who don't even  
bother to understand the issues involved.

> While indeed only a few people have been responding questioning your
> proposals, it does not follow that only a few are skeptical of them.
> For example, I have not until now contributed to this thread for the
> quite simple reason that every point I wished to make was already  
> being
> made eloquently by somebody else.
>> where I'm not actually proposing we change anything fundamental,
> You're suggesting that we change the syntax of the <img> element,  
> which
> has been part of HTML since before HTML had version numbers.

No, now you've simply exhibited yourself as another on the list of  
those who don't understand my proposal.

>> but instead provide interoperability ...
> You're right, the spec should tell user-agents what to do if they
> encounter content in an element which is supposed to be empty (if it
> doesn't already do this; I haven't checked).  That is sufficient to
> provide interop; we do not need to assign meaningful semantics to any
> such content found.

However, an aural UA could easily make use of that (call it a  
microformat if that's what you have to do) provided the  
interoperability follows the Presto/Gecko path and not the WebKit  
path. That's a big opportunity that we would miss. But not missing  
means that assistive technology can exploit this opportunity.

> (Note this isn't an argument against your proposal being useful in  
> terms
> of providing rich fallback content, merely pointing out that we can  
> have
> interop in other ways without your proposal.)

And miss an opportunity.

>> and author guidance
> Again we can have author guidance by telling them that <img> is empty,
> in the same way that the spec has rules for all sorts of things that
> authors should do.
>> for something that is already happening (non-inter-operably) in UAs.
> It's been shown that it isn't already happening!  There are user- 
> agents
> which completely ignore any unexpected content inside an <img>  
> element,
> under all circumstances.  That's quite a reasonable thing for them  
> to do
> with unexpected content.


> But there is no evidence at all of any of them
> having any intention of treating this content as  
> 'alternative' (rich or
> otherwise); none of them display it in circumstances where images have
> been disabled or are otherwise unavailable.

But there are other UAs that aren't ignoring the content. How is that  

> You have, reasonably, pointed out that we can't expect browser to
> implement features that haven't yet been written.  So the fact that
> browsers currently don't do this again isn't an argument against the
> plan.
> But it does strike me as bizarre to simultaneously claim both that the
> proposal is something that browsers are already doing, and that  
> they are
> doing it buggily.  A proposal is either codifying existing _de facto_
> behaviour, or it is proposing a change; if browsers don't already  
> do it
> then it's a change, no matter how much we think that browsers _should_
> already be doing it.

I didn't claim buggily. I never said anything about buggy.. I said  
they aren't doing it consistently and that we should provide guidance  
in the spec so that the do behave in an interoperable manner. I  
dumbfounded that this can even be controversial.

> I could claim that in the case of a missing image browsers are  
> currently
> displaying the winning numbers for next week's lottery, but they  
> suffer
> from a bug in which the numbers are displayed invisibly!  But that
> doesn't make much sense.  (It's even, dare I say it, a little  
> irrational
> ...)

OK, you still don't see a certain irrationality in this?!? You put  
words in my mouth that are irrational; then you create an analogy to  
your own irrationality and then accuse me of being irrational.   
Perhaps you should just leave this up to others. They were doing the  
same thing just fine on their own.

What has that to do with me calling for interoperability and  
leveraging an opportunity to nearly costlessly support fallback content.

Take care,
Received on Thursday, 5 July 2007 16:33:11 UTC

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