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Re: Getting beyond the ping pong match (was RE: Cleaning House)

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Fri, 4 May 2007 13:35:03 -0700
Message-Id: <34997081-AD35-47F9-A65D-C54F7409F46D@apple.com>
Cc: 'Lachlan Hunt' <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au>, www-html@w3.org, public-html@w3.org, tina@greytower.net, "'Patrick H.Lauke'" <redux@splintered.co.uk>, Philip-and-LeKhanh@Royal-Tunbridge-Wells.Org
To: John Foliot - WATS.ca <foliot@wats.ca>


On May 4, 2007, at 9:30 AM, John Foliot - WATS.ca wrote:

>
> One of the most exciting (to me) developments in the XHTML camp is the
> emergence of the ROLE attribute - as it now provides a means of  
> "explaining"
> what something is or does... To quote the W3C spec:
> "The role attribute takes as its value one or more white-space  
> separated
> QNames. The attribute describes the role(s) the current element  
> plays in the
> context of the document. <snip> It could also be used as a  
> mechanism for
> annotating portions of a document in a domain specific way (e.g., a  
> legal
> term taxonomy)."
> http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml-role/#s_role_module_attributes

The purpose of the "role" attribute is addressed in HTML5 by the  
"class" attribute, along with predefined classes.

>
> It's that last sentence that brings it home.  We need to attach a  
> semantic
> meaning to what are visual indicators (putting aside the <em> vs <i>
> debate).  Allowing (encouraging) the addition of a role attribute  
> to these
> inline elements would thus allow authors to provide the desired  
> semantic
> intent to the word or phrase that is being visually marked up:
>
> 	<i role="pleading semantic:emotion">Please</i> consider this...
>       <i role="forceful semantic:instruction">Please</i> be polite  
> in this
> debate...
> 	<i role="ship semantic:nomenclature">Please, Please, Please</i> was
> docked at pier 17 in the marina...

You could write these as:

<em class="pleading">Please</em> consider this...
<em class="forceful">Please</em> be polite in this debate...
<i class="ship">USS Please, Please, Please</i> was docked at pier 17  
in the marina...

Using "class" and other extensible existing HTML constructs like  
"rel" is the idea behind Microformats. I don't understand how the  
"role" attribute does anything that "class" can't do.

> In this scenario, it matters not whether it is <i> or <em> (as  
> Raman said,
> it is effectively the same to his screen reading tech at this  
> point), but we
> can now associate the reason why we've italicized (or emphasized) that
> particular word or phrase.  WYSIWYG editors could provide the  
> means, when
> "clicking the B button" to provide a "meaning" wizard/dialogue box  
> - perhaps
> pre-populated with some common reasons/meanings...

Adding a way to annotate markup with semantics could be helpful for  
expert-level tools, but I think asking every time would likely be  
uncomfortable for non-expert users.

Regards,
Maciej
Received on Friday, 4 May 2007 20:35:17 UTC

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