W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > April to June 2005

Re: Accessibility of "CHM" format resources

From: Orion Adrian <orion.adrian@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 6 Jun 2005 21:18:11 -0400
Message-ID: <abd6c80105060618185f9fa81b@mail.gmail.com>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

> Orion Adrian wrote:
> 
> > I don't feel the only option is replacement.
> 

Ok, I said not the only option... replacement is surely an option is
seems to be the option most used when a body is considered to be
unresponsive.

> ok, but:
> 
> > C++ is an incredibly powerful language, but a lot of users of the
> > language felt that it wasn't helping them program as much as it could.
> > The standards bodies responsible for it didn't act in a way that the
> > users of the languages could tolerate and it is rapidly being
> > surplanted by other languages that achieve the programmer's goals
> > better (Java / .Net).
> 
> this sounds like you are talking about replacement...or being
> supplanted, in any case.
> 

yep.

> 
> > I find it interesting that many in the W3C mailing lists blame
> > Microsoft for poor standards implementation,
> [...]
> > The W3C doesn't produce an industry quality browser and I find it
> > quite a lot to ask the bodies outside itself to up and implement
> > anything they say to implement simply because they said so.
> 
> don't forget that the W3C is a consortium, and microsoft is actually
> part of that consortium. hence the irony: they are part of the body that
> shapes the standards, and then they do not follow them.
> 

They help shape the standards. They don't set them. If they were
responsible for <object> it would be different.

> > As a
> > developer I am not required to implement bad ideas just because the
> > standards body says so. I will extend and improve upon the standard
> > and make my own flavor.
> 
> thus turning a standard into a proprietary format...
> 

Yes. If a proprietary format is best for all involved it is the right
way to go. Most often it's not, but if it were, I would go with it.

> > Accessibility needs not be work. Styling needs to not be work and
> > Markup needs to not be work.
> 
> pardon me, but that sounds like utopian idealism. do you have any
> concrete proposals other than "it should not be hard work"?
> 

People seem to really understand table layouts. They find them easy to
work with and they can even be used effectively in flexible layouts (a
plus).

However the CSS team decided not to go with that as an option. CSS
could have been separated into different layout and non-layout
languages. I don't believe CSS does a good job of layout even when it
does a good job in other places. They stuck with it though. I would
have separated them. As another example layout doesn't really use the
cascade all that well since each box tend to either be unique or a
simple repeating list.

This would fulfill all the goals that I would like to see done as well
as many of the authors I have worked with.

That's one major improvement. There are others which I have submitted
to the appropriate lists. My point here is not to list the individual
improvements, but for the W3C to make a more concerted effort in the
usability of languages from the author's perspective.

Most people can't see the better model until it is presented to them.

> > None of the W3C Web Technologies is the Holy Grail. I have not found a
> > single language to be a joy to program, despite my love of programming
> > and every day when faced with a new type of document to markup, to
> > style or to make accessibly I am left with doubts. I have marked up a
> > lot of documents and a lot of different documents. I have explained
> > the process of semantic markup to people of all walks and experiences
> > and I can tell you that each time I learn a little more and become
> > just a little more dissatisfied with what tools I have available to
> > me.
> 
> to me, these are the problems related to the fact that HTML/XHTML define
> the most basic building blocks, which necessarily do not always map
> perfectly to the myriad of possible content types encountered in the
> real world. again, what would the answer be? more elements? or a
> completely new approach (and if so, what kind)?
> 

I was all for reducing the set of block to begin with. I thought the
number of markup options was too high and needed to have a better
extensibility mechanism. I tought abbreviation and accronym we're
redundant. I thought we should have one header, not 6. I thought all
the title elements (caption, header, title) should be named the same
thing. I wanted to see all the pure formatting options removed. I
wanted to see it simplified and generalized early on.

Each group cares about things a bit differently than each other group.
Mathematicians need totally different markup than Linguists. I like
extension mechanisms.

I find irony in the massive deliberations leading to products that
don't seem to look ahead far enough in places and too far in others. I
know people have limited capabilities, but it's ironic to me
nonetheless.

I find that especially the CSS working group to be holding onto
certain features that many find unnecessary. I imagine they did a
better job of explaining it early on and got tired of it a long time
ago. Here I'm referring to incremental rendering and others. Perhaps
it's time to look at it all over again. If CSS 2.1 or 3 looks like it
will never be implemented than maybe we should ask ourselves why.

> > The tools in the toolbox should not have
> > to be coerced into the role I need as they are with mutli-column
> > layouts and float.
> 
> and that's why new versions of standards are being constantly worked on.
> you can't run before you walk, and you certainly can't foresee and
> second guess any possible real world problem and create a specific
> solution (style rule, in the case of CSS) to deal with it.
> 

My issue with the process that seems to be actually taking place is
that the standards that are being produced are ungainly and don't
address any of the overarching issues with the grammar or the general
approach the language takes.

> > This is not about ideals; it is about ideas. This is not about who is
> > right and who is wrong; it's about what's best for everyone. It's not
> > about telling people how they are wrong, but rather allowing all
> > viewpoints to come out. It's about expression; it's about
> > understanding; it's about making the world a better place by
> > compromising nothing.
> 
> make poverty history NOW. aeh, sorry...but i beg to differ, your speech
> IS about ideals. i have not seen any concrete proposals for how the
> problems you list can be addressed. extensibility of markup languages?
> 100s of new style rules?

My speech is about ideals. I have goals and beliefs. We all do. Mine
however is let's get there by any technical means necessary. Let's not
hold onto what's come before just because we've become attached. I
have no pet features. I have no desire to see something stay because I
am used to it. That to me is the difference.

Again my suggestions have been sent to the appropriate lists. Some are
new, many are not. A few have been entirely ignored. You cannot expect
me to believe the body is responsive while ignoring suggestions from
the audience.

I actually find CSS to be too verbose leaving out many desired
features while requiring authors to use too many rules to get the job
done. I am looking to intention.

For example, I made this suggestion which was ultimately ignored.

There are 9 points of interest on a rectangle (the basis for the box
model). The 4 mid-points along the 4 sides, the 4 corners and center.

There is no easy mechanism to say that I want one of those points of
interest on box X to be relative to another point of interest on box
Y.

This added with simple offsets and padding could comprise of the
entire layout system. There would be no need for calcuations
(something I oppose as unnecessary given something like this).

I find that the intention of a lot of authors could easily be summed
up by that very capability. I have yet to see a layout (flexible or
fixed) that cannot be described that way. This, however, never really
recieved any attention on the www-style list.

I love simplicity. I find I have trouble remembering all the things
that are out there to remember and I do not desire my entire being to
be dedicated to the pursuit of programming when there is so much more
out there in the world. Usability is all about not making a person
think and making machines adjust to the needs of humankind.

CSS does a good job of providing a ton of tools. It does a lousy job
of providing tools that I would actually find enjoyable to use.

And since when was Utopia a bad thing to strive for?

Orion Adrian
Received on Tuesday, 7 June 2005 01:18:55 GMT

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