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Re:XHTML Basic and XHTML modularization: ACRONYM and BDO

From: Nir Dagan <nir@nirdagan.com>
Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2000 18:13:34 -0500
Message-Id: <200002222310.SAA29004@vega.brown.edu>
To: Matthew Brealey <thelawnet@yahoo.com>, www-html@w3.org
At 05:21 PM 2/22/00 -0500, Matthew Brealey wrote:

>However, I am perhaps of the view that bidirectionality is better suited
>to style sheets anyway, since it is concerned with the visual rendering of
>documents, not their structure, and perhaps dir and BDO should be
>deprecated for the direction and unicode-bidi properties.

Although BiDi is indeed rendering, it is essential for readability.
This makes it quite different from <font> for example:
There is the "rule" that HTML documents should be rendered 
correctly if the user turns off style sheets.

Having BiDi support in HTML markup is important as it is assumed 
that some future light weight HTML renderers will have no support 
for style sheets.

With XML the situation is different, as default user's style cannot address 
author defined elements. Indeed, the approach in XML1.0 is not to have 
generic directionality markup, but to rely on style sheets and/or Unicode's 
special characters. This makes sense since generic XML needs a style sheet 
anyway, and is often machine generated (see point below)

As I pointed out in an earlier message, these Unicode characters may be 
used in HTML but require typically superior software to produce without errors.

On the other hand, from the point of view of programming a browser, 
supporting the Unicode directionality control characters only or 
also the HTML markup is essentially the same programming effort.

From a practical point of view, browsers that support BiDi 
are often modular, that is have an optional BiDi module. This reduces 
the cost for users who are not interested in BiDi support, who don't 
have to spend resources for an irrelevant job.

This may support the view that all BiDi related markup will 
be in one HTML module.

Thus my view is that HTML (including XHTML) differs from generic XML in that:
1. It should "work" without an author's style sheet.
2. It should be easier to write with primitive software.
Therefore having directionality markup in HTML is a good thing.

3. It would make sense to have all BiDi related HTML features 
   in one module.


Nir Dagan
Assistant Professor of Economics
Brown University 
Providence, RI

Received on Tuesday, 22 February 2000 18:10:51 UTC

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