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Re: Baselines: how specific?

From: Christophe Strobbe <christophe.strobbe@esat.kuleuven.be>
Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2006 18:40:17 +0100
Message-Id: <>
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org

Hi Gez and All,

On 14/03/06, Christophe Strobbe wrote:
How specific should a baseline definition be?

Gez Lemon responded:
That's a good question. I've assumed that the baseline was about
technology, and not the features of the technology. For example,
specifying HTML in the baseline presumably covers features such as
object, link, longdesc, etc, even though they may be partially
supported or poorly implemented. The media for the object might be
another technology in its own right, but I wouldn't have thought of
specifying the object element itself in the baseline.

A list of technologies is a simple binary representation that does
not do justice to the reality of incomplete implementations by
user agents. Some websites that puts HTML 4.01 in their baseline will
assume that every feature is supported, while others will assume that
object, link, longdesc, etc are not adequately supported by the user
agents of a significant percentage of their visitors. This means that
some websites will use fall-back techniques such as 'embed', while others
will not.
This takes me to another aspect of my original question: if websites
use 'embed' or other non-standard features, shouldn't that be part of the
baseline also? Just specifying 'HTML 4.01' in the baseline would be
The third aspect of my question is whether a baseline should specify
which version or profile of a technology is assumed. For example, is it
sufficient to say "HTML 4.01" or is it necessary to say "HTML 4.01 Strict"?
(I'm in favour of the latter, more specific, approach.)

Some W3C technologies have been "modularized": is it necessary to
specify which modules are assumed to be supported? I think it is.
The question about modularizaton also throws a different light on the question
of specifying whether specific features (e.g. object in HTML) can be
mentioned: after all, modules are collections of such features.

Is it also necessary to specify which MIME types are assumed to be
supported? This is relevant when using XHTML 1.0.


Christophe Strobbe

Christophe Strobbe
K.U.Leuven - Departement of Electrical Engineering - Research Group on 
Document Architectures
Kasteelpark Arenberg 10 - 3001 Leuven-Heverlee - BELGIUM
tel: +32 16 32 85 51

Disclaimer: http://www.kuleuven.be/cwis/email_disclaimer.htm
Received on Tuesday, 14 March 2006 17:40:28 UTC

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