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RE: Clarifications to definition of "active element"

From: Hansen, Eric <ehansen@ets.org>
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2001 18:45:49 -0500
To: "'Ian Jacobs'" <ij@w3.org>, "Hansen, Eric" <ehansen@ets.org>
Cc: w3c-wai-ua@w3.org
Message-id: <B49B36B1086DD41187DC000077893CFB8B476F@rosnt46.ets.org>
So....

Old (IJ):
> > > > > 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.

New 1:

> > > > > An interactive 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.


But what happens when an interactive element is deactivated?
a. Is it simply no longer an interactive element? 
b. Is it still an interactive element that has had its behavior undone?
c. Is it still an interactive element, but has been put in a state of
readiness for triggering?

Maybe answers to such questions are not essential but do seem necessary
given that the present definition refers to deactivation:

> > > > > 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.
> > > > >

I wonder if you can get away without using the words activate/deactivate and
simply refer to triggering:

New 2:

> > > > > An interactive element is a piece of content with associated
> > > > > behaviors, that the user may trigger either
> > > > > through the user interface or through an API.

Also the following statement might be clear enough, but I wonder how much
disagreement there might be about the line between an interactive element a
non-interactive element....

> > > > > 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.)

More comments below....

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ian Jacobs [mailto:ij@w3.org]
> Sent: Friday, January 26, 2001 5:40 PM
> To: Hansen, Eric
> Cc: w3c-wai-ua@w3.org
> Subject: Re: Clarifications to definition of "active element"
> 
> 
> "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.

EH: I guess we would need to make clear what major specs say that we would
interpret as declaring some element as interactive and then make clear that
in this document we mean elements that have _both_ characteristics.
Otherwise, someone might interpret these characteristics as alternatives,
either of which could qualify the element as interactive. 

As I think about it, when you say that some is X by specification, don't you
simply mean that X is recognizable? If so, then it boils down to something
close to what you proposed.... (see suggestion above).
> 
> Do you have examples?
> 
>  - Ian
> 
EH: None other.

> 
> > > -----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 18:46:21 UTC

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