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Re: [html4all] HTML5 Alternative Text, and Authoring Tools

From: Smylers <Smylers@stripey.com>
Date: Fri, 2 May 2008 14:01:52 +0100
To: HTML4All <list@html4all.org>, public-html@w3.org, W3C WAI-XTECH <wai-xtech@w3.org>
Message-ID: <20080502130152.GB24915@stripey.com>

John Foliot writes:

> However in absence of such study, the mandatory requirement for @alt
> currently exists within HTML 4.01 as well as XHTML 1.0,

Yes.  So those specs are silent on what to do if you'd like to serve
unknown photos (you don't know what they are, or you can't see them).
Apparently it is not possible for a site doing that to be valid HTML 4,
no matter how diligent the page author (and creators of any tools used
in generating the pages).

However, for all sites which are currently valid HTML 4 -- that is, they
provide genuine alt text -- the requirements are exactly the same in
HTML 5; that alt text is still mandatory.  There is no option for the
author to omit it.

> and the editor's decision to reverse precedent and remove this
> requirement

Sort-of.

Because the scenario in question isn't covered by HTML 4, HTML 5 is
extending HTML to encompass an additional scenario that HTML 4 didn't,
and setting requirements suitable for that scenario.

So the 'precedent' that's being reversed is the precedent that sites
serving unknown photos can't be valid HTML.  That's only a precedent if
that was an explicit decision that was previously made, rather than
something which just happened to come about from other decisions.  Is
such a decision documented anywhere?

It seems to me that we should aim for HTML 5 to cover all situations for
which people wish to create a webpage; "invalid" should be a criticism
of the mark-up used in expressing that, not of the business model.

Smylers
Received on Friday, 2 May 2008 13:02:39 GMT

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