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Re: comments on 'private use' section of proposal for ISSUE-31 AND ISSUE-80

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Fri, 16 Jul 2010 02:51:48 -0700
Cc: Steven Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>, HTMLWG WG <public-html@w3.org>
Message-id: <7D0159A6-F36D-4D62-A440-7D986E69D193@apple.com>
To: Laura Carlson <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>

On Jul 16, 2010, at 1:58 AM, Laura Carlson wrote:

> Hi Steve,
> 
>> Why make an exception only for alt? If a document or email is PRIVATE, there
>> are many other conformance requirements that could be waived
> 
> The email loophole seems to go back to Mail.app:
> 
> "Mail.app and other mail clients don't put alt attributes on images
> generated in email" - Maciej Stachowiak, April 11, 2007. [1]
> 
> "I can only imagine it [alt] being useful as an advanced feature for
> experts. Normal people won't understand why a mail program would
> prompt them to type in some text about an image, that will then not be
> visible to them or their recipient." - Maciej Stachowiak, April 11,
> 2007. [2]
> 
> Ian cited Maciej's [3] email as THE reason for the redefinition of the
> image element from a Vlad Alexander type definition [3] to optional
> alt in bug 9098 [4].

While I used Mail.app as an example over three years ago, I believe what I said is true of nearly any mainstream mail client that lets you put inline images in HTML email. For example, here is an excerpt of raw source for an email produced by GMail, notice lack of alt on the img elements:

------------
Content-Type: text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

Hmm, can I add an <b>inline</b> image?<div><br></div><div><img src=3D"cid:1=
E3@goomoji.gmail" style=3D"margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0.2ex; margin-bot=
tom: 0px; margin-left: 0.2ex; vertical-align: middle; " goomoji=3D"1E3"><im=
g src=3D"cid:gtalk.367@goomoji.gmail" style=3D"margin-top: 0px; margin-righ=
t: 0.2ex; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0.2ex; vertical-align: middle; "=
goomoji=3D"gtalk.367"><br>
--------------

Note: I'm not sure at this point that the current state of alt is the best solution to this problem. However, I think it's rather unlikely that mainstream mail clients will start prompting users for a text alternative each time they attach an image. If the spec requires HTML content in private messages to include alt text, then I expect such a requirement would not be respected in practice.

Regards,
Maciej
Received on Friday, 16 July 2010 09:52:21 UTC

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