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Re: Liaison with CSS WG to provide a mechanism for expressing the style of document semantics

From: Robert J Burns <rob@robburns.com>
Date: Thu, 29 May 2008 08:22:24 +0000
Cc: "'HTML Issue Tracking WG'" <public-html@w3.org>
Message-Id: <A47C69B5-5CB2-4511-9192-E256AF4E3814@robburns.com>
To: "Justin James" <j_james@mindspring.com>

HI Justin,

On May 29, 2008, at 4:33 AM, Justin James wrote:

>
> I can't figure out this wiki thing enough to put my comments on  
> there, so I
> will have to do it on the list instead (I suspect that the wiki is the
> "right" place for it, but without a way of using it...).

No, discussion here is certainly appropriate. I will try to add links  
to the email discussion as it happens.

> Looking at this, I am curious as to why in the world, after 10 years  
> of
> begging people to separate their styling from their semantics, we  
> would then
> turn around and make a mechanism that allows people to embed content  
> and
> semantics (in this case, putting a string with a legend text is  
> certainly a
> form of content) into the style sheet. This really looks like a  
> massive step
> backwards. In this case, people should be using a tag in HTML with a  
> *role*
> of "legend" (and another attribute indicating the ID of the tag that  
> it is
> the legend of), with a stylesheet to style the legend itself. The  
> legend
> text does not belong in a *style* definition.

I understand your point here. The URI value for the property does  
permit the author to separate concerns in just the way you suggest.  
That is the legend text can reside in the document itself, while the  
presentation description gets automatically generated or handled  
through the legend-presentation property. Perhaps I should include  
just such an example with the legend in the original document.

One of the reasons I turned to CSS for this is that I wanted it to  
participate in the cascade. UAs might also assist users in identifying  
duplicate presentation idioms resulting from the cascade and  
correcting those. Imagine for example, the UAs default stylesheet.  It  
might include:

em {    legend: "emphasis"
              font-style: italic;}

Yes this legend is redundant with the specification of HTML. However,  
it places the legend in the UA stylesheet where it can be handled in  
the same manner with other legends. If the legend had to reside in the  
HTML document, then the UA stylesheet could not also provide the  
information. Likewise a user could not provide any legend information,  
though they might also be interested in selecting and styling a  
particular semantic. I'm a big advocate of the separation of concerns,  
but there are times when CSS with its cascade provides valuable  
abstraction and flexibility that cannot be matched otherwise. Also it  
is important to provide authors multiple ways to achieve the results  
they seek. For example, a stylesheet author may identify particular  
semantics she wants to style with a stylesheet, but not have write  
access to the original document so this separate of concerns provides  
the needed flexibility to place the legend in either place.

Take care,
Rob


>
> Here is another issue that needs to be introduced here for discussion,
> as it will be added to the issue-tracker in time. This idea has been
> discussed briefly within the WG and more off-list. I welcome
> additional feedback now. As this involves nearly entirely only CSS, it
> would merely be a rough draft proposed to the CSS WG from the HTML WG
> if the WG decides to do so.
>
> Liaison with CSS WG to provide a mechanism for expressing the
> semantics of styling.[1]
>
> [1]: <http://esw.w3.org/topic/HTML/SemanticPresentationLegendCSS>
>
Received on Thursday, 29 May 2008 08:23:10 GMT

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