W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > April 2008

Re: Request for review of alt and alt value for authoring or publishing tools

From: Jim Jewett <jimjjewett@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 16 Apr 2008 12:59:03 -0400
Message-ID: <fb6fbf560804160959n566d9b0eied09d4f45c09673e@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Ian Hickson" <ian@hixie.ch>, joshue.oconnor@cfit.ie
Cc: foliot@wats.ca, wai-xtech@w3.org, wai-liaison@w3.org, public-html@w3.org, list@html4all.org

Ian Hickson wrote:

> ... I am skeptical that magic keywords won't be abused as much
> as the simpler syntax we have now.  If anything,

> ... the longdesc="" attribute should show us how
> much authors are likely to use nonsense values.
> longdesc="" is supposed to take a URI, but a huge
> fraction of longdesc="" attributes have strings that
> are not URIs at all.

I have some vague memory of once reading that longdesc was a string --
like alt, but longer and more detailed.

That would also explain the longdesc="" values, as indicating either
that the image was decorative (and should have alt="") or that the alt
tag by itself was sufficient.

(1)  How many of those broken longdesc values are useful under that
interpretation?

(2)  One reason that alt started to see usage was that some browsers
started treating it as a tooltip.  I'm not aware of any way for normal
authors to verify their longdesc, short of view source.

So I would expect longdesc to be an extreme case.  Usage of reserved
values for alt should be closer to regular alt usage, or at least to
proper alt="" usage (minus the accidentally correct usage from tools
that use alt="" everywhere).

-jJ
Received on Wednesday, 16 April 2008 16:59:44 UTC

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