IMG ALT attribute in HTML 4.0

Liam Quinn (liam@htmlhelp.com)
Tue, 09 Sep 1997 16:00:59 -0400


Message-Id: <3.0.3.32.19970909160059.008d4c90@undergrad.math.uwaterloo.ca>
Date: Tue, 09 Sep 1997 16:00:59 -0400
To: www-html@w3.org
From: Liam Quinn <liam@htmlhelp.com>
Subject: IMG ALT attribute in HTML 4.0

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I was glancing over the recently updated Cougar DTD at 
<http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/Cougar/Cougar.dtd> where I noticed that the ALT 
attribute for IMG is now a required attribute (a good thing, IMO).  I also 
noticed that the DTD's comment for ALT is "short description", whereas the 
HTML 4.0 DTD at <http://www.w3.org/TR/WD-html40/sgml/dtd.html> gives 
"description for text only browsers".  Both of these comments imply that 
the ALT attribute is used to give a *description* of the image, but 
commonly suggested practice (as well as the HTML 4.0 draft [1]) says that 
the ALT attribute should be used to give *alternate text*, which usually 
means giving the *function* of the image instead of the *description*.

With this in mind, I would suggest changing the DTD's comment to 
"alternate text when image is not rendered".

BTW, what is the intention of 
<http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/Cougar/Cougar.dtd>?  Is this to be a working 
version of the HTML 4.0 DTD, unlike <http://www.w3.org/TR/WD-
html40/sgml/dtd.html> which is only updated when new drafts become public?

[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/WD-html40/struct/includes.html#alternate-text

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Liam Quinn
===============  http://www.htmlhelp.com/%7Eliam/  ===============
Web Design Group            Enhanced Designs, Web Site Development
http://www.htmlhelp.com/    http://enhanced-designs.com/
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