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Re: What does 'look for semantics' mean....

From: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Date: Sat, 28 Apr 2001 14:22:47 +0100 (BST)
Message-Id: <200104281322.f3SDMlS30586@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
> document is sound. It also lets the user agent know
> where to look for semantics if it needs to.'

Recognize headings, paragraphs, list items as such, rather
than just as formatting effects.  It basically means use the
language as intended, not just for visual effect.

> and also if this ability to 'look for semantics' is
> used in any current 'User Agents'.

IE4+ and NS6 use them whenever the user supplies a style sheet.

Amaya (browser editor) and html2ps (print convertor) rely on correct
semantic use of Hn to generate tables of contents (for the use of this in
html2ps, look at the PDF version of the HTML 4.01 or CSS2 specfications).

D J Delorie claims that some search engines rely on semantically correct
use of Hn to construct an outline of the document, rather than using initial
lines, or meta elements.

When one extends to XML, correct semantics allows documents to be machine

Any non-pixel oriented browser, e.g. Lynx, or, in principle, screen readers,
requires correct semantics to render a document recognisably (sometimes they
can approximate, but not always).

Although I don't know if it is done in practice, correct use of TH,
etc., allows non-visual browsers that follow the guidelines in the HTML
specification to render tables understandably.

What could be done with Hn and lists is to provide a folded view of the
document (c.f. Word outline mode).  For Hn this requires proper nesting, 
as required by ISO HTML.

PS your mail program is using MIME header encoding on your name when there
are no characters in that require it.
Received on Saturday, 28 April 2001 09:31:16 UTC

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