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The color of inclusions via OBJECT (was RE: OBJECT, inheritance, and rendering)

From: Braden N. McDaniel <braden@shadow.net>
Date: Thu, 30 Jul 1998 15:44:22 -0700
To: "'Simon Richter'" <geier@psi5.com>
Cc: "'Todd Fahrner'" <fahrner@pobox.com>, <www-style@w3.org>, <www-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <000301bdbc0b$990f97c0$7422dbd0@bonezero>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: www-html-request@w3.org
> [mailto:www-html-request@w3.org]On Behalf
> Of Braden N. McDaniel
> Sent: Wednesday, July 29, 1998 8:24 PM
> To: 'Simon Richter'
> Cc: 'Todd Fahrner'; www-style@w3.org; www-html@w3.org
> Subject: RE: OBJECT, inheritance, and rendering

> This strikes me as a genuine ambiguity in the HTML 4 spec. Is
> there any
> chance of seeing this amended (via an "errata" addendum?), or
> should I just
> cross my fingers and hope to see it in HTML 5?

I thought it would be useful to elaborate on the nature of these problems if
I'm going to call for a fix. There are two problems here. They are, as I see
them, color-specific problems, and do not extend to all styles.

First, there is a problem with including HTML files with OBJECT. It appears
to me that there exists in the specs a mechanism by which an inclusion can
keep the background of the parent document. This, anyway, has been the
traditional means of implementing inclusions with transparency.
Specifically, an image with transparency will show the background of the
host document in the transparent portions.

I submit that, since the specs seem not to speak to the issue specifically,
it follows from this behavior that the proper behavior for an included HTML
file is for the color of the host document to show through where the
background of the inclusion is "transparent". Note that the initial value
defined for the "background-color" property is "transparent". This creates
an interesting problem, because we have no similar means of imposing a
*foreground* color from the host document.

The initial value for "color" is defined as being "implementation
dependent". Let's suppose that an implementation has defined this initial
value to be black. I might have an HTML document that hosts an inclusion
which looks something like this:

	<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Strict//EN">
	<HEAD>
	<TITLE>Host Document</TITLE>
	<STYLE TYPE="text/css">
	BODY { background-color: black; color: white }
	</STYLE>
	</HEAD>
	<BODY>
	<P>Hi, I'm a host document. I've got an inclusion right about
	<OBJECT DATA="inclusion.html" TYPE="text/html" HEIGHT="100%"
	WIDTH="100%">here.</OBJECT>
	</BODY>

inclusion.html doesn't specify any styles, and can therefore be expected to
take the initial values for properties of all the styles of its elements:

	<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Strict//EN">
	<HEAD>
	<TITLE>Included Document</TITLE>
	</HEAD>
	<BODY>
	<P>Hi, I'm an included document.
	</BODY>

It appears to me that, per the current specs, the correct rendering of the
included document is black text on a black background. The initial reaction
to this situation might be, "So what, the same thing would happen if you
used an image with only black and transparent pixels." There is a
significant difference. In that situation, the page author knows that the
pixels will be black, because (presumably) he is familiar with the contents
of the image. In this case, recall that the default foreground color for the
document is *implementation defined*. The author doesn't know what the
foreground color will be unless he specifies it in a style sheet.

A possible solution to this is to change the initial value of "color" from
"implementation-defined" to simply guarantee that the initial color will
contrast with the base background color. This could be guaranteed
numerically, yes?

The second problem is what I was focusing on before: the problem of how to
deal with coloring a plain text file. The problem is basically the same as
that with including an HTML file: the background color can be controlled
from the host document, but not the foreground color. The difference here is
that for a plain text file, the foreground color cannot be controlled from
the included document either. This suggests to me that we need a general
means of determining color for monochromatic inclusions, and it should be
based on the properties of the host document.

As described before, a possible solution to this is to give one pixel value
the color of the current foreground color in the host document, and the
other pixel value would be fully transparent (or, have the color of the
current background of the host document).

Comments?

Braden
Received on Thursday, 30 July 1998 18:38:03 GMT

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