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Re: <q>

From: Ben Boyle <benjamins.boyle@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, 25 Oct 2008 23:32:32 +1000
Message-ID: <5f37426b0810250632v54dac38dt6bf3f906777bb9bb@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Chris Wilson" <Chris.Wilson@microsoft.com>
Cc: "HTML WG" <public-html@w3.org>

On Fri, Oct 24, 2008 at 11:01 PM, Chris Wilson
<Chris.Wilson@microsoft.com> wrote:
> I'd like to suggest a different strategy for <q>.  I'm not comfortable with
> a strategy that directly says you must break the only required rendering
> rule in HTML4.01 in order to be compliant with HTML5.  I believe we should
> pick one of the following options: 1) it should either be removed ...

I've never understood why quotation marks got special treatment. All
other punctuation has to be included in the content (before applying
markup and styling). Since HTML4 established it that way, I'd rather
see it deprecated in HTML5. Beyond that, I have no opinion on how UAs
are instructed to parse it.


Let me explain why I don't find q useful (why I think it could be deprecated).

I could author this:
<q lang="en">Hello world</q>

And I could change the language:
<q lang="fr">Hello world</q>

If all worked to spec, the rendered quotation marks would change. But
to do this I had to change the language attribute. I also should have
translated the text to 'Bonjour world' (according to babelfish[1]) ...
because this will not automatically occur. If I'm already doing all
that, I might as well embed the quote characters and change them too.
The q element is not giving me (the author) a great deal of value.

A passing suggestion: why not just define some entities... like &oquo;
"an opening quote, based on the current language" and &cquo; for
closing quotes. Let them be used wherever, without worrying about the
element. (Yeah, I hear someone mentioning 'nested quotations'
already). If we're delving this deep into quotations, might as well
define the markup for poems and everything else documents could
conceivably contain. I mean, imho, this q stuff is tending towards the
esoteric.

I prefer a more rigid application of the separation of concerns
principle: start with grammatically correct (including punctuation)
content, then apply the markup language. The content should be correct
with the markup removed. If it is dependent upon the markup for proper
punctuation, this separation has not been achieved.

Thankfully, the q element is completely optional so there's nothing
stopping me continuing to avoid using it. ;)
Just my opinion.

Ben
Received on Saturday, 25 October 2008 13:33:13 UTC

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