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Re: Definition of "technology": proposed modification

From: Tim Boland <frederick.boland@nist.gov>
Date: Wed, 15 Feb 2006 08:58:21 -0500
Message-Id: <5.1.1.5.2.20060214113451.01f53420@mailserver.nist.gov>
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
For proposed definition of technology, do we want to say "functionality 
composed of markup language(s), programming language(s), style sheet(s), 
data format(s), or API(s)", since we have a singular term "technology" with 
plurals (example: markup languages, etc.) in the definition, so need to 
specify how plurals are combined if necessary to satisfy definition of 
singular term (that is, a technology could be composed of one or more items 
from the given list) .

Then, do we want to link to/definitions for what specifically constitutes a 
markup language, programming language, etc.?   I notice that none of these 
items is currently defined in the WCAG2.0 Glossary [1], but there may be 
links to definitions elsewhere. For example, CSS2.1 [2] defines a "style 
sheet" as:

"A set of statements that specify presentation of a document.
Style sheets may have three different origins: author, user, and user 
agent. The interaction of these sources is described in the section on 
cascading and inheritance. "

Such definitions may be useful in consideration of specifically what a 
technology is for purposes of future WCAG2.0 conformance in terms of 
baseline.

  QUESTION: Is this list of items denoted by "markup language(s), 
programming language(s), etc" a "closed set"?   In other words, would there 
ever be some other additional (different) kind of item in the future that 
might qualify for inclusion in the list?  Do we want to restrict 
"technology" to just those five items mentioned, or do we want to allow the 
possibility of future inclusions, by saying "functionality composed of (for 
example) markup language(s), ..etc.)?

SIDE OBSERVATION:  I notice that some of the definitions in [1] are 
complete sentences, and others are merely clauses (not complete sentences).
For example, the definition of "feature" is a complete sentence, whereas 
"function" is defined as a clause (not a complete sentence).   Should we, 
for consistency's sake, have definitions be in one or the other 
formats?   Should all definitions have a common template for expression of 
the definition, for uniformity of expression?

Thanks and best wishes
Tim Boland NIST


[1]: http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/appendixA.html
[2]: http://www.w3.org/TR/CSS21/conform.html


At 10:59 AM 2/13/2006 -0600, you wrote:

>Here's a proposal to update our definition of "technology." This is not
>covered by last week's survey on Glossary Issues.
>
><current>
>technology
>Technology means a data format, programming or markup language, protocol
>or API.
></current>
>
><proposed>
>technology
>markup languages, programming languages, style sheets, data formats, or
>APIs.
></proposed>
>
>Changes:
>- delete the phrase "technology means a"; this makes the definition
>conform to ISO format.
>- Add "style sheets" to the list of things included in the definition;
>this corrects an oversight
>- Remove "protocol" from the list
>- Change singular nouns to plural form
>- Reorders the list of things included in the definition so that "markup
>languages" appear first.
>
>John
>
>
>"Good design is accessible design."
>John Slatin, Ph.D.
>Director, Accessibility Institute
>University of Texas at Austin
>FAC 248C
>1 University Station G9600
>Austin, TX 78712
>ph 512-495-4288, f 512-495-4524
>email jslatin@mail.utexas.edu
>web http://www.utexas.edu/research/accessibility/
>
>
>
Received on Wednesday, 15 February 2006 13:59:15 GMT

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