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Re: [widgets] i18n <span> element VS unicode RLM/LRM

From: Felix Sasaki <fsasaki@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 11 Sep 2008 09:32:32 +0900
Message-ID: <48C86720.70206@w3.org>
To: Marcos Caceres <marcosscaceres@gmail.com>
CC: "public-i18n-core@w3.org" <public-i18n-core@w3.org>, Web Applications Working Group WG <public-webapps@w3.org>

Hello Marcos,

many people from the i18n core WG are away this week, so there might be 
more replies later. This is a personal reply.

Marcos Caceres wrote:
> Hi, i18n-WG.
> In recent feedback we received from Addison Phillips regarding the
> Widgets 1.0: Packaging specification, he suggested that WebApps should
> add a <span>-like element to our Widget Configuration Document format
> (so to allow bidi text to be declared).
>   

I think such an element would only be necessary within these elements: 
name, description, author, license. It seems that only these elements 
may contain human readable text.

> At our last F2F, WebApps discussed the proposition and we were left
> wondering if we can use unicode's RLM/LRM characters instead of a
> <span>-like element? Can i18n please advise us on this?

See
http://www.w3.org/TR/2008/NOTE-xml-i18n-bp-20080213/#DevDir
and
http://www.w3.org/TR/2007/NOTE-unicode-xml-20070516/#Bidi
I will not repeat the arguments here, but the conclusion is that indeed 
an attribute for directionality information would be better than relying 
on Unicode control characters.


>  Not having the
> <span>-like element significantly simplifies our processing model. We
> don't want to sacrifice i18n for the sake of simplicity, so we really
> need your guidance again on how to move forward.
>   

I personally would recommend you to use the <its:span> element in the 
ITS namespace. The element is defined at
http://www.w3.org/TR/2007/REC-its-20070403/#span
This element gives you the "dir" attribute and various other attributes 
which are useful for esp. Widgets localization. See
http://www.w3.org/TR/2007/REC-its-20070403/#att.local.no-ns.attributes
See also the related "Best Practice" to define such an element for XML 
vocabularies at
http://www.w3.org/TR/2008/NOTE-xml-i18n-bp-20080213/#DevSpan
To keep simplicity for Widgets 1.0, you could say in your conformance 
description that a Widgets processor has various options to deal with 
the <its:span> element (or more in general: the ITS namespace) and its 
attributes: ignore them or process them.

If you do not want to add markup from a specific namespace, you could or 
should IMO add extensibility points for people who need such markup. 
That is, change in the schema something like

description = element description {
  xmllang.att?,
  text
}

to

description = element description {
  xmllang.att?,
  any
}

and define "any" and a pattern "anyElement" as

any= (attribute * { text }
     | text
     | anyElement)*

anyElement =  element * { any }

Again the conformance for such markup can say: ignore it ("it" meaning: 
markup from other namespaces) or process it. I think you are basically 
saying that already at http://www.w3.org/TR/widgets/#extensions

Regards, Felix.

> Having read "Internationalization Best Practices: Handling
> Right-to-left Scripts in XHTML and HTML Content", we are aware that
> there are problems with text editors ATM, but we are hoping the tools
> will improve as Unicode support becomes more common place (or is that
> wishful thinking?).
>
> Kind regards,
> Marcos
>   
Received on Thursday, 11 September 2008 00:33:11 GMT

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