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Re: Clarifications to definition of "active element"

From: Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2001 17:40:09 -0500
Message-ID: <3A71FCC9.B7CB26E1@w3.org>
To: "Hansen, Eric" <ehansen@ets.org>
CC: w3c-wai-ua@w3.org
"Hansen, Eric" wrote:
> 
> Is it correct that the critical feature of an interactive element would be
> that it is activatable? Is it possible that an interactive element might not
> have the quality of deactivatableness (!?) by virtue of either  by having an
> ephemeral existence or by being permanent. I don't mean the question to be
> simply philosophical... I am just trying to identify the minimal set of
> attributes that would define an interactive element.

What attributes are you thinking of besides:

 - interactive according to spec
 - still interactive in the current user interaction state.

Do you have examples?

 - Ian


> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Ian Jacobs [mailto:ij@w3.org]
> > Sent: Friday, January 26, 2001 12:39 PM
> > To: Hansen, Eric
> > Cc: w3c-wai-ua@w3.org
> > Subject: Re: Clarifications to definition of "active element"
> >
> >
> > "Hansen, Eric" wrote:
> > >
> > > I find some aspects of this confusing.
> > >
> > > The statement "Content determines what is an active
> > element" makes one
> > > wonder how the word content is being used. Is it correct that since
> > > "content" is what is in the DOM, then the DOM holds all the
> > information that
> > > this definition says determines whether an element is active or not?
> >
> > Yes.
> >
> > The set of active elements (always based on content) may be reduced
> > by the state of user interaction with the document.
> >
> > Note that in the future, users may be able to specify behaviors
> > through style sheet-like content, I assume allowing them
> > to override author-specified behaviors or to simply add their
> > own. But this would still be content.
> >
> > > One ambiguity is that it is hard to tell how you are using
> > the term "active"
> > > in this description. One the one hand, the term seems to be
> > used to mean
> > > "activatable" (via triggering), such that an "active
> > element" is one that
> > > could (under some circusmstances) be activated.
> >
> > Yes.
> >
> > > The description make one
> > > wonder if an active element is one that is not only
> > activatable but is also
> > > in its active state; for example, what does it mean to
> > "deactivate" an
> > > element: (a) to turn an active element into an element that
> > is _not_ an
> > > active element (i.e., from triggerable to untriggerable) or
> > (b) to change an
> > > active element from its active state to its inactive (though still
> > > triggerable) state?
> > >
> > > I think that this needs to be clarified.
> >
> > We don't use the term "active" in the document to mean that
> > an element is in its active state. I am comfortable adding that
> > clarification to the definition.
> >
> > However, if you think that that the term "active element" might
> > be confusing, we might use "interactive element" instead.
> >
> > PROPOSED: Change "active element" to "interactive element".
> >
> > > Also, from the description it is not clear why the notion
> > of "applicability"
> > > is relevant.
> >
> > As usual, this is about what the user agent can recognize. While
> > this principle is globally relevant and defined in the section
> > on applicability, I don't think it hurts to remind people in critical
> > places that "what is X" depends on whether X can be recognized.
> > So I mention that being an active element is a "role" that is
> > subject to applicability (since one of the applicabilitly provisions
> > refers to recognizing the role of content).
> >
> >  - Ian
> >
> > > > -----Original Message-----
> > > > From: Ian Jacobs [mailto:ij@w3.org]
> > > > Sent: Thursday, January 25, 2001 7:34 PM
> > > > To: w3c-wai-ua@w3.org
> > > > Subject: Clarifications to definition of "active element"
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > Hello,
> > > >
> > > > Based on some comments from Eric, I've attempted to clarify
> > > > the definition of active element. The key clarifications are:
> > > >
> > > >   1) Content determines what is an active element.
> > > >
> > > >   2) The state of the user's interaction with the document may
> > > >      limit which elements are active (examples are given).
> > > >
> > > >   3) Not all user interactions involve active elements (e.g.,
> > > >      text selection and copying to the clipboard).
> > > >
> > > >   4) The role of "active element" is subject to applicability.
> > > >
> > > > The full definition follows.
> > > >
> > > >  - Ian
> > > >
> > > > <DEFINITION>
> > > > An active element is a piece of content with associated
> > > > behaviors, that the user may trigger (or, "activate") either
> > > > through the user interface or through an API.
> > > >
> > > > Content always determines what constitutes an active element. For
> > > > instance, the HTML 4 [HTML4] specification defines a number of
> > > > active elements: links, image maps, form controls, element
> > > > instances with a value for the "longdesc" attribute, and element
> > > > instances with scripts (event handlers) explicitly associated
> > > > with them (e.g., through the various "on" attributes). The role
> > > > of an element as an active element is subject to applicability.
> > > >
> > > > The state of the user's interaction with that content may limit
> > > > which elements are active. For instance, an element may be
> > > > "deactivated" by a script as the result of the user's interaction
> > > > with the content. Or, an element may only be active during a
> > > > given time period (e.g., during part of a SMIL 1.0 [SMIL]
> > > > presentation). Or, the user may be viewing content in "read-only"
> > > > mode, which may deactivate some elements.
> > > >
> > > > The user may interact with content without necessarily activating
> > > > active elements. For example, selecting an element's text and
> > > > copying it to the clipboard is clearly user interaction but does
> > > > not make that element an active element. (The element may also be
> > > > an active element, but only by virtue of how the author has
> > > > encoded it, not by virtue of the selection functionality provided
> > > > by the user agent.)
> > > >
> > > > The consequence of triggering an active element depends on the
> > > > element. For instance, when a link is activated, the user agent
> > > > generally retrieves the linked Web resource. When a form control
> > > > is activated, it may change state (e.g., check boxes) or may take
> > > > user input (e.g., a text entry field). See also the definition of
> > > > event handler.
> > > >
> > > > Most operating environments use the content focus to indicate
> > > > which active element will be triggered on user demand.
> > > > </DEFINITION>
> > > >
> > > > --
> > > > Ian Jacobs (jacobs@w3.org)   http://www.w3.org/People/Jacobs
> > > > Tel:                         +1 831 457-2842
> > > > Cell:                        +1 917 450-8783
> > > >
> >
> > --
> > Ian Jacobs (jacobs@w3.org)   http://www.w3.org/People/Jacobs
> > Tel:                         +1 831 457-2842
> > Cell:                        +1 917 450-8783
> >

-- 
Ian Jacobs (jacobs@w3.org)   http://www.w3.org/People/Jacobs
Tel:                         +1 831 457-2842
Cell:                        +1 917 450-8783
Received on Friday, 26 January 2001 17:40:12 UTC

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