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Re: IDs? and classes

From: Jason White <jasonw@ariel.ucs.unimelb.edu.au>
Date: Mon, 12 Jun 2000 10:04:09 +1000 (EST)
To: Web Content Accessibility Guidelines <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.SOL.4.10.10006120943300.24708-100000@ariel.ucs.unimelb.edu.au>
Interestingly, there has been significant resistance, within this working
group, to any attempt to provide common semantics to specific values of
the HTML CLASS attribute, either within the guidelines or techniques
documents. The basic rationale was that the semantics of CLASS values were
left completely unconstrained by the HTML specification and it was
desirable not to create an inconsistency, or apparent inconsistency,
between HTML 4.0 and the guidelines. It was also urged that content
developers should have total freedom in creating style sheets to use the
CLASS attribute as they wished.

I am not necessarily endorsing these arguments, but merely indicating that
any attempt to suggest CLASS attribute values in the guidelines or
techniques would be contrary to a position accepted by this working group
during the Proposed Recommendation stage of the version 1.0 guidelines.

Now that XHTML has arrived, there exists a properly defined extension
mechanism which is vastly superior to the HTML CLASS attribute and which
will supplant it. If the techniques document is to offer examples of XHTML
extensions, then the working group will indeed be involved in creating new
semantic markup, even if only for illustrative purposes.

One could mount a parallel argument in the case of CLASS, namely that it
would be reasonable to suggest (but not to mandate) particular attribute
values and associated semantics, in providing examples of author-specified
style sheets, while making it clear that these are not intended as
prescriptions. The opposition to defining CLASS values was directed
primarily against the CLASS="nav" proposal, which was suggested as a
suitable convention with which to identify groups of links (more recently
of course, the semantics of the MAP element have been extended to
accommodate this particular requirement); but the general arguments
surrounding the ways in which the guidelines and/or techniques can
legitimately influence the semantics of pre-existing language features,
still remain.

Again, I am not arguing in favour of a particular position here, but just
pointing out the history of this issue and the questions to which it has
given rise in the past.
Received on Sunday, 11 June 2000 20:05:16 UTC

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