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Re: LONGDESC vs D-link (was LONGDESC for OBJECT)

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charlesn@sunrise.srl.rmit.edu.au>
Date: Fri, 31 Jul 1998 14:53:06 +1000 (EST)
To: Taylor-Made <taymade@csinet.net>
cc: WAI <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.SUN.3.91.980731142656.16404C-100000@sunrise.srl.rmit.edu.au>
It's like this:

LONGDESC is a fine idea, but currently doesn't help anyone. It may in the 
future.

D-links are a fine idea, and they work for EVERYONE. They often look 
scrappy, but using a small white (or transparent) dot, with ALT="D=link" 
as the link works well for any browser which can handle IMG (pretty well 
everyone)

putting LONGDESC in is a fine thing to do. But it is not actually very 
useful - putting in D-links instead, or as well, is necessary. 

(The reason is to do with the changes in HTML. LONGDESC and OBJECT are 
new - LONGDESC doesn't work in any browsers, OBJECT can work in lots of 
them because it has content. e.g.

<OBJECT TYPE="image/gif" DATA="somepic.gif" WIDTH="33" HEIGHT="33">
<STRONG>If</STRONG> your browser doesn't understand OBJECT (and so far as 
I know only MSIE 4 and Netscape 4 do, and not properly) then they will 
ignore the OBJECT tag. That means you will see this text. 

<P>If it does understand OBJECT, and can read gif images, you will get the
image "somepic.gif" displayed 33x33 instead. If it can understand OBJECTs,
but does not read gif images, you will also get this text. 
<P><STRONG>NB</STRONG> This is proper HTML - much more useful than ALT
text, because you can put links or whatever you like in it, including
other OBJECTs. </OBJECT>

My bet is that OBJECT will be useful in browsers long before LONGDESC. 

For all those who have an older browser (currently pretty much everyone - 
MSIE and and Netscape 4 are pretty bad at OBJECT, nothing else reads it 
anyway) you will need to use an IMG tag inside the object. These same 
people are unable to use LONGDESC, so only a D-link can give them access 
to the important information.

Here is an example of what I recommend: You either get the OBJECT 
somepic.gif, (for which there is no LONGDESC-type info available - it is 
assumed that if you set your browser to give you gifs, that is because 
you can read them. This may be a bad assumption) or you get the IMG 
somepic.gif, followed by the IMG dot.gif, or you get the ALT text 
something sensible followed by the ALT text D-link. the D-link text, or 
the IMG dot.jpg (whichever appears) is a link to somepic.htm where there 
is a long description of somepic.gif.

<OBJECT TYPE="image/gif" DATA="somepic.gif" WIDTH="33" HEIGHT="33">
  <IMG SRC="somepic.gif" WIDTH="33" HEIGHT="33" ALT="something sensible">
  <A HREF="somepic.htm" TITLE="D-link for somepic.gif"><IMG SRC="dot.gif" 
    WIDTH="1" HEIGHT="1" ALT="D-link"></A>
</OBJECT>

The LONGDESC for OBJECT question is really:
Should OBJECTs make available a description of themselves even if they 
are shown?

Currently the only way to do that is to use (yep, you guessed it) a 
D-link after the OBJECT

Charles
Received on Friday, 31 July 1998 01:15:14 GMT

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