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Re: [WebAIM] More data on accesskeys (New article written Nov. 1)

From: Charles McCathieNevile <chaals@opera.com>
Date: Fri, 01 Dec 2006 13:46:58 +0900
To: "Lachlan Hunt" <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au>, "John Foliot" <foliot@wats.ca>
Cc: "WAI IG" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <op.tju58kilwxe0ny@staff-57.wireless.latrobe.edu.au>

Guess John (at least) was wondering where I was. Couple of thoughts...

On Sat, 04 Nov 2006 06:01:54 +0900, Lachlan Hunt  
<lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au> wrote:

> My good mate John Foliot wrote:

>>> Andy Mabbett wrote:
>>>>         <link rel="home" href="http://www.example.com/index.htm">
>>>>         <link rel="search" href="http://www.example.com/search.htm">
>>> I agree with the concept, but I don't agree with using the <link>
>>> element.
>>  Why, or why not?
>
> Only because the <a> element is a better alternative for links, given  
> that <link> is not useful to the vast majority of users without  
> something like a link toolbar in their browser.  However, from an  
> implementation perspective as far as keyboad binding are concerned,  
> those links should work just as well as the equivalent <a> links.

Yeah, this should be implemented better, because in most cases there is  
already a link in the document and it is teh natural place to have the rel  
attribute. The link element is only useful for things where you wouldn't  
have put a normal link in (stylesheets and stuff are examples). But for  
that, it still is useful.

...

>> 	E) @role currently suggests the ability to define custom roles (RDF)
>> - this may in fact be very useful - although again how it would be  
>> consumed by user-agents is not yet 100% clear (and is, I believe, the
>> crux of Chaal's argument for the ability to "hint" a keybinding - but
>> again, I won't speak for him)
>
> If you're correct, it sounds to me like Chaal's argument is effectively  
> that "RDF doesn't solve our problem, so we need to give a keybinding as  
> well".  If that's true, that indicates that they need to rethink their  
> solution, rather than patch a broken one.  I'd also like to add that RDF  
> is a complex language for the average author and it's highly unlikely to  
> see any significant use for this in the real world.

Yeah, but that isn't my arguemnt :) The basic idea is that accesskey, as  
it exists in HTML 4 (but not in the b0rken FF or even worse MS  
implementations) is workable. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with an  
author giving a hint for a key - although the user agent should decide to  
accept or replace it... It is kind of rough to expect someone using on a  
device with a joystick in hindi to find the 賀 key is a useful shortcut.

The rel thing is better (more user-friendly) where there is a rel. If you  
have the chance to just name a key instead, the same authors who used to  
use <big><b> for a heading will just use a key instead of learning to use  
rel - at least in the short term. But then, plenty of people already did  
that, and there is a clear path for doing it better next time. Throwing  
out the existing markup isn't necessarily a good idea, if it can be  
salvaged easily enough. Just ask the UK government what they would be  
prepared to pay so someone can go through their pages and auto-replace all  
the accesskey attributes, because we don't like the way they are spelled...

The point about RDF is that for those who do get it, and plenty do for  
really simple cases like this (although you can never explain something to  
the satisfaction of everyone) you have a nice extensibility mechanism in  
rel/role/itDoesntMatterWhatTheNameIsJustWhetherItIsImplementedInBrowsers  
that allows for distributed and decentralised extension. This means the  
guys writing the implied japanese site in my accesskey example above don't  
have to worry in advance about whether WHATWG, W3C, microformats.org or  
whoever can read their explanation of what their particular value means,  
because you have a way of applying it afterwards that is lightweight  
enough to implement in a browser if you want to provide real-time  
discovery.

>> I personally like the idea of role as it more closely defines what we  
>> are talking about, but if one of the goals of HTML 5 is to re-use as  
>> much of what we have now (rather than starting over again) then REL  
>> works too...
>
> That's sums it up nicely!

Yep, in general. I think the decentralised and distributed extensibility  
story is really important, but there are plenty of ways to skin that cat.

Cheers

Chaals

-- 
   Charles McCathieNevile, Opera Software: Standards Group
   hablo español  -  je parle français  -  jeg lærer norsk
chaals@opera.com          Try Opera 9 now! http://opera.com
Received on Friday, 1 December 2006 04:47:20 UTC

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