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Re: UA style sheet for <q>-- why required?

From: Robert J Burns <rob@robburns.com>
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2008 18:37:31 -0500
Cc: "HTML WG" <public-html@w3.org>
Message-Id: <C3D6B2C7-E5CB-4226-83DA-C0E1933AE9FB@robburns.com>
To: "Jim Jewett" <jimjjewett@gmail.com>

Hi Jim,

On Oct 30, 2008, at 6:13 PM, Jim Jewett wrote:

>
>> I've seen no one expound a compelling reason for not leaving  
>> quotation
>> styling to a styling mechanism instead of hard coding the styling in
>> the HTML document.
>
> Correctness.  The HTML is supposed to be usable even with  
> stylesheets off.
>
> If Bob says <q>I'll be a monkey's uncle!</q>, then the stylesheets are
> effectively required.
>
> If Bob says "I'll be a monkey's uncle!", then it works for most
> people, but the quotation isn't semantically marked.
>
> If Bob says "<q>I'll be a monkey's uncle!</q>", then it works for most
> people, and degrades properly -- but it looks ugly if someone actually
> does use a stylesheet to add quotes.

This still is not a reason. When stylesheets are off that means that  
the UA is using the UA stylesheet to present the quotations. This  
thread started by Simon is designed to ensure UAs have a sufficient  
stylesheet to present quotations in a familiar manner to anyone in the  
World. So:

> If Bob says <q>I'll be a monkey's uncle!</q>, then the stylesheets are
> effectively required.

will be rendered properly using the UA stylesheet. Therefore I still  
haven't heard a reason why we shouldn't let the styling of quotations  
be handled on the presentation layer and not in the HTML document.

> What we really need is a way to say the moral equivalent of
>
>    If there is a stylesheet rule to supply marks to <q> elements
> (:before, :after),
>    then any hardcoded quotation marks immediately preceding or  
> following the
>    <q> element are implicitly removed.
>
> That does require:
>
> (1)  Specifying what counts as a quotation mark (Unicode Property
> Quotation_Mark ?)

I think that would be a suitable definition (broadening it beyond that  
would lead likely to undesirable errors).

> (2)  Specifying whether the quotation marks should be inside or
> outside of the <q> element.

Such a legacy error handling approach should work whether quotations  
are immediately inside or immediately outside the element (ignoring  
whitespace)
>
> (3)  Having an explicit rendering rule, instead of delegating  
> entirely to CSS.

The rendering rule to avoid duplicating quotations when adding them  
with CSS should be for legacy support only IMO. This has been  
discussed at length in this thread[1][2]. It is not entirely clear  
this is the best way forward, but it could be. It deals well with  
legacy content and legacy browser targeted content. Once IE8 is  
released it will still be some time before authors can successfully  
use quotations as HTML4.01 intended. Supplementing the CSS to meet  
some of the other various locale/language conventions discussed in  
this thread is also important (such as handling punctuation kerning,  
collapsing of multiple terminating quotation marks and supporting  
alternate quotation presentation based on word and character length) .

Take care,
Rob

[1]: <http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2008Oct/0241.html>
[2]: <http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2008Oct/0260.html>
Received on Thursday, 30 October 2008 23:38:14 UTC

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