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RE: This week's Q&A (qa-bidi-controls)

From: Martin Duerst <duerst@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003 15:29:40 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: <ishida@w3.org>, <public-i18n-geo@w3.org>

Hello Richard,

Many thanks for your answer. See below...

At 16:55 03/06/17 +0100, Richard Ishida wrote:

>See below...
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Martin Duerst [mailto:duerst@w3.org]
> > Sent: 17 June 2003 15:51
> > To: ishida@w3.org; public-i18n-geo@w3.org
> > Subject: Re: This week's Q&A (qa-bidi-controls)
> >
> >
> > At 15:05 03/06/17 +0100, Richard Ishida wrote:
> >
> > >That leaves us with a gap for our weekly offering.  To get
> > around this
> > >problem (given that Martin doesn't want to publish his new Q&A just
> > >yet), I wrote something today that may serve, will hopefully be not
> > >very controversial, and will also draw attention to the
> > newly published
> > >Unicode in XML and other Markup Languages.  You can find it at:
> > >http://www.w3.org/International/questions/qa-bidi-controls.html
> >
> > These are my specific comments on this Q&A:
> >
> > - Good and timely topic, good material!
> >
> > - The background is much too long, and counterproductive.
> >    We have discussed this before, but I think this is an excellent
> >    example to try to explain what I'm concerned about. In
> >    http://www.w3.org/International/questions/qa-headers-charset.html,
> >    I have tried to give a background to follow the general format,
> >    but to keep it as short as possible, so that the reader can
> >    see the answer and go there directly in most cases.
> >    On the other hand, on
> >    http://www.w3.org/International/questions/qa-bidi-controls.html,
> >    the background is very long, more than a full page on most screens/
> >    browsers. Also, it explains the problems, but also spends a lot
> >    of time and real estate on explaining the wrong solution. There is
> >    some probability that somebody reads half on the page and then goes
> >    off to use the wrong solution.
>Yes. I actually spent  a relative large amount of time trying to find a
>good way to link to the background section that I had moved to the end
>of the page, but didn't come up with anything I was happy with and gave
>up for the time being.  I'll try again.  We could just stick some text
>in there, but I'd rather find an aesthetically pleasing as well as
>practical approach if I can.

I think you should take a different approach. Instead of explaining
one solution (the wrong one) in the background, explain the problem
(multiple nested (i.e. structured) pieces of rtl and ltr text) and
the abstract solution (identification of these pieces).
Use terms such as base directionality and embedding (and later
override) without actually mentioning the control characters.

Then the answer can directly explain the markup solution.

> > - It is unclear to everybody except readers of Hebrew (i.e. also
> >    readers of Arabic) why the first example in 'background' is wrong.
>The sentence immediately before it explains that though, doesn't it?
>(btw, I considered adding "Incorrect: " before this example - need to
>add some styling for that to distinguish from the example itself.)

It only says "This is incorrect. The text "W3C" and the comma should
appear to the left of the Hebrew text." Why? Why don't you just
move them there? I think it should say what the text means
(maybe it's 'hello there, W3C', but maybe something different)
and why the comma and W3C are in the wrong position (only the
Hebrew words get identified as rtl, but the whole quote is
overall Hebrew and therefore should run rtl overall).

> > - An example of the correct syntax is missing. Remember: The Web
> >    got big by people copying examples!
>Well that appears in the next example box, which is really a
>continuation.  I thought about moving the correct version up.  Maybe I
>should, and make it clearer that the two examples are related.

That's not my point. The correct *HTML* syntax is missing.
Something like

The title says <em dir='rtl'>"WERBEH WERBEH, W3C"</em> in Hebrew.

or so.

> > - For the justification of why to use markup, there are only some
> >    citations, but not really a convincing explanations of why this
> >    is the right thing to do.
>I thought the citations were pretty convincing actually.  Do you think
>we need to spell it out more?  Or do you have other suggestoins?

Say that embedding usually coincides with the structure of the
document anyway.

Regards,   Martin.
Received on Tuesday, 17 June 2003 15:37:57 UTC

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