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Re: The missing Sentence tag

From: Charles McCathie Nevile <chaals@yandex-team.ru>
Date: Fri, 07 Dec 2012 03:20:18 +0100
To: public-html@w3.org, "Thomas A. Fine" <fine@head.cfa.harvard.edu>
Message-ID: <op.woxcr4jvy3oazb@chaals.local>
On Wed, 05 Dec 2012 18:57:28 +0100, Thomas A. Fine
<fine@head.cfa.harvard.edu> wrote:

> HTML needs a tag to indicate sentence structure.
>
> So, how do I go about having this tag added?  Is there a formal  
> procedure?

Yes. http://www.w3.org/html/wg/ says that each spec has instructions on
how to comment, but basically

> Should I submit a bug report?

Yes

> Is there a specific group or mailing list where I should start?

This is a good place for explaining your case.

>  What exactly is the process?

The standard approach at the moment is to propose an extension
specification, or file a bug.

Either way, to get something adopted you should demonstrate use cases,
extract requirements, and figure out what will satisfy them.

More importantly, you should develop a consensus, or at least a strong
group of people who will implement in the relevant parts of the ecosystem
(authoring, rendering, processing, ...)

> Here's a brief summary of why I think this is needed:
[snip]
> Here's a few reasons why people might want to adjust sentence formatting:
[Use cases]

This is good. You need to make the case that these use cases matter to
people. Elsewhere you also wrote some, relevant to different types of
processing software. Again, you need to convince people who make this
software to argue for the requirement.

> While there are suggested algorithms for detecting sentences, none of  
> them works completely reliably.  An accurate solution defies even the  
> most advanced AI approach, and in fact even another human being would  
> likely fail to accurately guess what the content creator had in mind in  
> all cases.
>
> If HTML has been given all the modern tools of convenience that we now  
> have, shouldn't it also include one of the most basic tools that  
> typesetters have been using for centuries?

Not necessarily. It doesn't have tabs, either.

I am somewhat sceptical because I am not sure how important to people this
really is. You can already use the span element for any inline run of
text, so <span class="sentence"> is obviously a legitimate way to manage
this. Equally obviously, that won't be produced by hand very often.
Software tools don't commonly seem to do this, or it would have been done
more already. In practice, you should probably demonstrate the need by
getting authoring tools to produce marked-up sentences, and showing that
there is uptake - i.e. that styling sentences is really something people
consider important.

I am also sceptical in part because historically it has been difficult to
get implementation for things that are considered a minority interest if
that minority doesn't make an important part of the infrastructure. As
examples note that vertical text is still pretty poorly supported, but
there is a specific colour picker to get a hexadecimal RGB value for a
colour. I am particularly sceptical that browser developers (who are
important stakeholders) will not rush to implement support for you.

On the other hand, that also means the fact something wasn't implemented
ages ago is not very good evidence for the lack of a use case.

cheers

Chaals

-- 
Charles McCathie Nevile - Consultant (web standards) CTO Office, Yandex
         chaals@yandex-team.ru         Find more at http://yandex.com
Received on Friday, 7 December 2012 02:20:53 GMT

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