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RE: John's proposed wording for Principle 4

From: Neil Whiteley <neil.whiteley@tag2.net>
Date: Tue, 19 Jul 2005 21:06:22 +0100
To: "'Wendy Chisholm'" <wendy@w3.org>
Cc: <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

Hi Wendy,

Could you explain the issue with "current and future" as in, "Content is
compatible with current and future user agents" ?
To me, "current and future" seems simpler and easier to understand.

I'll try.

Picking up from Gregg's comment [1] and also Guideline 4.2
(technology-supports-access) Issue #1050 [2], is *current and future* too
fuzzy? What is meant by current and exactly how far in to the future is
reasonably predictable?

Assuming *technologies* in this context to mean "user agents and assistive
technologies", as discussed previously [3], which in continuing I'll just
refer to as *user agents*. 

[1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-gl/2005JulSep/0105.html
[3] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-gl/2005JulSep/0113.html 

By *current*, do we mean "latest release versions of available user agents"
or "any released versions of user agents that are available now or have been
available previously" that are actively being used to access Web content? In
either case *current* is fairly safe because we are talking about *known*
user agents with *known* capabilities. Content developers can define a
baseline and create compatible content.

By *future*, do we mean "pre-release versions of available user agents" or
"any user agent that may be conceived and made available" that could be used
to access Web content? Well, a lot depends on the life span of the Web
content and WCAG 2.0 but in either case we are talking about *known* and
*unknown* user agents both having *unknown* capabilities. Content developers
cannot define a baseline or therefore, compatible content.

So, as far as Principal 4 is concerned, realistically it should only deal
with *legacy* or *current* versions of available and active user agents
which would give us.

4. Content is compatible with current user agents.

Where *current* means; "any released versions of user agents that are
available now or have been available previously that are actively being used
to access Web content".

It might be that any attempt to address compatibility with future user
agents will prove to be unworkable and indeed unnecessary. The capabilities
of those user agents will be *unknown* until such time as they are released,
at which point they become *current*.

Does that help?

Received on Tuesday, 19 July 2005 20:06:31 UTC

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