Re: The 'state of the browsers' report

Paul Fidler (praf1@cam.ac.uk)
Thu, 15 May 1997 11:06:10 +0100 (BST)


Date: Thu, 15 May 1997 11:06:10 +0100 (BST)
From: Paul Fidler <praf1@cam.ac.uk>
To: www-html@w3.org
Subject: Re: The 'state of the browsers' report
In-Reply-To: <Pine.LNX.3.95.970514110315.7080A-100000@ns.viet.net>
Message-ID: <Pine.HPP.3.95L.970515103954.28768A-100000@punch.eng.cam.ac.uk>

> Netscape goes from a D to a B for OBJECT. Not an A because they seem to
> have only supported the types supported via EMBED (plugins) - not their
> natively supported types, doesn't display the 'standby' or 'alt' elements
> content and because it played two of the three nested objects.

On the subject of <OBJECT>'s  'alt' attribute, it is not at all clear to
me what it should do.  'Inserting Objects into HTML' [1] gives an example:

    <OBJECT data=TheEarth.avi type="application/avi" alt="The Earth">
    <img src=TheEarth.gif alt="The Earth">
    </OBJECT>

And then describes the alt attribute:

    The ALT attribute allows the user agent to provide an alternative to
    processing the OBJECT resource indicated by the DATA attribute.

That's all very well and good, but I thought that the <img src=...> within
the <OBJECT></OBJECT> is what allows the user agent to provide an
alternative to processing the OBJECT resource indicated by the DATA
attribute.

Later on the same document [1] has the following sentence:

    (user agents may choose to display the content of the OBJECT element
    or the OBJECT ALT attribute if displaying the actual element will
    take a long time to render).

So a browser can display the content OR the alt text. My worry is that
<OBJECT> supporting browsers will choose simply to display the alt text,
when not rendering the <OBJECT> itself, since it is easier for them. (They
already do this for <IMG> after all).

In short, what is the point of the alt attribute for <OBJECT>? Does it
serve a useful purpose - or is it just there so that browser writers can
ignore <OBJECT> content (with lots of nice markup in it) and use alt text
(without markup in it) instead? Or am I just being silly???

 
[1] http://www.w3.org/pub/WWW/TR/WD-object 


Paul Fidler
-- 
Cambridge University Engineering Department
Trumpington Street, Cambridge, CB2 1PZ, UK