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Re: XForms 1.0: My Opinions

From: T. V. Raman <tvraman@us.ibm.com>
Date: Mon, 16 Sep 2002 04:08:27 -0700
Message-ID: <15749.48043.354245.874916@localhost.localdomain>
To: joern turner <joern.turner@web.de>
Cc: Dan Dennedy <DDennedy@digitalbang.com>, John Keiser <jkeiser@netscape.com>, www-forms@w3.org, Beth Epperson <beppe@netscape.com>, Daniel Glazman <glazman@netscape.com>


With regards  to the idea of divorcing label from the owning control
and pointing at it via indirection this has a couple of disadvantages:

0)  as you point out the markup gets more complex; 
1) More importantly,  the html experience has shown that authors in
this case forego element all together and use tables to align the
label and the control --this is an accessibility disaster.

Tying up the label 
closely with the UI control does pose some challenges with layout that
I suspect will iron themselves out over time --
the advantages of having the label tied to the control in terms of
keeping the markup rich outweigh these initial wrinkles --I'm sure
that with xslt and css in our hands we can do most of what we need.


>>>>> "joern" == joern turner <joern.turner@web.de> writes:

    joern> i tried the same direction (inventing additional attributes
    joern> to steer the label alignment) but it lead to overly complex
    joern> constructs (using XSLT) just for the label
    joern> positioning. Labels for repeated sections put additional
    joern> load on the stylesheet writer (tabular versus vertical
    joern> layout) and even if CSS would be strong enough to express
    joern> all this, it's just currently not the case, that all
    joern> browsers interpret it the same way. (not to speak from
    joern> palms or mobiles)

    joern> consider another solution: <tr> <td> <xforms:extension>
    joern> <chiba:label-copy ref-id=".8"/> </xforms:extension> </td>
    joern> <td> <xforms:textarea xforms:id=".7"
    joern> xforms:bind="description"> <xforms:label xforms:id=".8">
    joern> Description<br/>zweizeilig</xforms:label> <xforms:alert
    joern> xforms:id=".10"/> </xforms:textarea> </td> </tr>

    joern> i invented an extension element (it's a bit like
    joern> xforms:copy) which copies the result of evaluating the
    joern> referenced label and tried this with good effect. It allows
    joern> me (as a form author) to render label whereever i want them
    joern> in the document and as a stylesheet-writer i have much less
    joern> work. the only thing which is left to decide is whether to
    joern> use the copies or the original label when styling for a
    joern> specific platform.

    joern> any opinions about the usefullness of such an element in
    joern> XForms?

    joern> another possible solution would be to relax the Schema for
    joern> label, allowing it to occur not only as a child of the
    joern> control but anywhere in the containing document by using a
    joern> reference-id. this is surely a more elegant solution, but
    joern> it also weakens the 'contract' between label and
    joern> control. i'm no Schema expert so i'm not sure if in that
    joern> case it's still possible to express that every control MUST
    joern> have a label.

    joern> joern


    joern> Dan Dennedy wrote:
    >> It should be noted that the below comment is based upon using
    >> xhtml tables for managed layout. However, I just learned about
    >> css property "display" and its values table, table-caption,
    >> table-row, table-cell, etc. along with caption-side
    >> property. Alas, Mozilla and Opera 6 handle them fairly well,
    >> but not IE 6 at all. However, it appears Mozilla and Opera do
    >> not correctly display "caption-side: left" which rules out
    >> using table-caption for a label since labels are often on the
    >> left. In order to get various label placements with tables, I
    >> currently require row/column spans, which I do not see in
    >> CSS2. IMO, currently, neither CSS alone nor authored xhtml
    >> tables are completely suitable for xhtml+xforms layout; I still
    >> need my layout hint attribute on <group> and my caption-side
    >> attribute on form controls. At the very least, these two hints
    >> make authoring much easier and expressive without my other
    >> developers or customers complaining.
    >> 
    >> See the ZVON CSS2 tutorial for examples:
    >> http://www.zvon.org/xxl/CSS2Tutorial/Examples/example42.html
    >> 
    DRD> On a related note, label is layout-oriented too. Obviously,
    >> XForms supports CSS absolute positioning, but many (most?)
    >> prefer a flowed or managed layout. In that case, should labels
    >> always go on the left? Many form authors prefer top or bottom.
    >> Some authors prefer right-aligned over left-aligned esp. if one
    >> or more labels are rather long. Can all of this be specified in
    >> CSS using "caption-style" and "text-align"? Not only is the
    >> label
    >> 

-- 
Best Regards,
--raman
------------------------------------------------------------
T. V. Raman:  PhD (Cornell University)
IBM Research: Human Language Technologies
Architect:    Conversational And Multimodal WWW Standards
Phone:        1 (408) 927 2608   T-Line 457-2608
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Email:        tvraman@us.ibm.com
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AIM:      TVRaman
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              San Jose 95120
Received on Monday, 16 September 2002 07:08:49 GMT

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