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Re: (marks, definitions, terms, abbreviations, and variables <m>, <dfn>, <abbr>, <term>) part of my review of 3.12 Phrase elements

From: Thomas Broyer <t.broyer@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 20 Jul 2007 08:55:51 +0200
Message-ID: <a9699fd20707192355r7fdc9f11rbee06b92e1962396@mail.gmail.com>
To: public-html@w3.org

2007/7/20, Robert Burns:
> I like the more elaborate document conformance criteria the HTML5
> draft provides for <dfn> and <abbr>. However, right now <dfn> either
> encloses text nodes that are the the definition of the term or, in
> the case of an abbreviation, it includes a text node (indirectly)
> that is the term defined (with the @title value the definition of the
> term). There are places in the draft, where the distinction between a
> term and the elaborate definition is not kept completely distinct. I
> think it has been even more difficult for authors to keep these uses
> separate. This confusion over exactly how to use a <dfn> element is
> one of the prime use-case/problem statements for the following
> proposals:

...mainly because HTML4 did a very bad job at defining <DFN>: there's
not even an example!

> proposed additions (for <dfn>/
> Element-specific attributes:
>         scoped (boolean)
>         defref (string; required)
> Based on my proposal, the definition would be marked up with the
> <dfn> element and the term would be marked up with the <abbr>
> element.
> <p>The <dfn><abbr>Zat</abbr></dfn>, short for Zat'ni'catel, is a
> weapon.</p>
> <p>Jack used a <abbr>Zat</abbr> to make the boxes of evidence
> disappear.</p>"
> My proposal would change this to:
> <p>The <abbr>Zat</abbr>, <dfn defref='Zat'>short for Zat'ni'catel</
> dfn>, is a weapon.</p>
> <p>Jack used a <abbr>Zat</abbr> to make the boxes of evidence
> disappear.</p>"

Er, aren't you the man calling for "avoiding changing the meaning of
HTML4 elements because it creates namespace collisions"?

And you're proposing:
 - adding a *required* attribute
 - changing the definition of DFN to contain the definition rather
than the term (and then introducing <TERM> instead)

Just a few words about your example: how's "is a weapon" not part of
the definition of "Zat"?
I concede that the example could be better marked up adding a title
attribute to the <abbr> with value "Zat'ni'catel" but leaving this
aside, it's correct.
<p>The <dfn><abbr title="Zat'ni'catel">Zat</abbr></dfn>, short for
Zat'ni'catel, is a weapon.</p>

> With this approach the, association is clear and the UA is not left
> to infer what the association is based on a paragraph that may
> contain less or more than the precise definition.

I'd rather introduce a <definition> element in this case:
<p><definition>The <dfn><abbr>Zat</abbr></dfn>, short for Zat'ni'catel, is a
weapon</definition>; Jack used a one to make the boxes of evidence

Thomas Broyer
Received on Friday, 20 July 2007 06:55:57 UTC

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