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Re: [whatwg] Feeedback on <dfn>, <abbr>, and other elements related to cross-references

From: Philip Taylor <pjt47@cam.ac.uk>
Date: Mon, 21 Apr 2008 18:31:03 +0100
Message-ID: <480CCF57.9020401@cam.ac.uk>
To: "Patrick H. Lauke" <redux@splintered.co.uk>
CC: public-html@w3.org

Patrick H. Lauke wrote:
> Smylers wrote:
>> What in practice would you expect AT to do with this knowledge?
>> Remember that most abbreviations that aren't being tagged with
>> expansions won't be marked up, so AT is going to have to deal sensibly
>> with that case anyway.
> So you'd prefer hit and miss heuristics over unambiguous interpretation?

<abbr> does not allow unambiguous interpretation, since it will be 
misused and abused, so heuristics are necessary to give a decent user 
experience even with those elements. (Any other feature will also be 
misused and abused, so that is unavoidable.)

http://philip.html5.org/data/abbr-acronym.txt shows some existing uses 
of <abbr> and <acronym>:

<abbr> is used a lot for dates ('<abbr 
title="2007-10-05T13:33:09-0400">Friday, October 5, 2007</abbr>'), so it 
has to be treated as equivalent to non-marked-up text in at least those 

<acronym> is used a lot for things that aren't acronyms ('<acronym 
title="Forum Home">MUSICFANTALK</acronym>', '<acronym title="Greg Powell 
and Mike Donovan are fictional characters [snip lots of text]">Powell 
and Donovan</acronym>'), where people just want the styling and tooltip 
effects, so it also has to be treated as equivalent to non-marked-up 
text in those cases. (Currently HTML5 requires <acronym> to be replaced 
with <abbr>, so these problems would apply to <abbr> in the future.)

The markup elements can be used as additional input information to guide 
the heuristics, which may (or may not) be much better than without that 
information, but there will always be some ambiguity that 
implementations will have to cope with.

Philip Taylor
Received on Monday, 21 April 2008 17:31:37 UTC

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