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RE: "alt" attribute required by XHTML 1.0

From: Christian Wolfgang Hujer <Christian.Hujer@itcqis.com>
Date: Wed, 5 Sep 2001 23:15:06 +0200
To: "Matt Brooks" <matt@mbjlp.com>, <www-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <000801c1364f$d65697c0$bc2750d9@andromeda>
Hello Matt,

you were ignoring the following facts (most of this was already said, but I
wanted to write a full list that I can recycle... ;) (It is great of you
that at least you tried to validate, many so-called "web designers" or "HTML
programmers" (ouch!) even do not know that something like validation exists
at all...):

- requirement of the alt attribute for the <img/>-element is not new. For
HTML 4.01, HTML 4, HTML 3.2, HTML 3.0 and HTML 2.0 I am sure they also
required the alt attribute for valid documents. For HTML+ and HTML I am not
sure, neither I am for ISO-HTML, but since ISO-HTML is the most restrictive
HTML I've ever seen (you may not use H3 after H1, and you may not use H2 if
you didn't use H1 before...), I believe it also requires the alt-Attribute.

- that spacer-Images are *not* what HTML-Cracks use for positioning since
this won't work as intended, anyway.

- HTML is a language for description of document semantics, for layout use

- that people are using text browsers if they are freaks using lynx or using
small devices that cannot display fancy graphics

- that there are blind people surfing the web using speech browsers

- that validation generally is a good idea

- that if you do not write valid HTML, you are not writing HTML at all, you
are just writing some SGML or XML nonsense which the web browsers do their
best to display

- that the main attribute for Tooltip display is the title attribute, so you
could try to override the alt="" empty tooltip with title="" for no tooltip
in some browsers

- that alt="" won't display a tooltip in most browsers anyway

There is not alternative to valid documents except for the following:
- your XSLT transformation that generates your HTML documents is not fully
XSLT 1.1 compliant, so no namespace cleanup is performed and you may get
additional namespace attributes
- you are using a language mix of HTML and another namespace like SVG, SMIL
or MathML
Neither is the case with your documents.

For your <a name="label"/>-problem:
- The correct writing is <a id="label"/>
- It is no problem to include <a id="label"/> in block elements only, try
using <div><a id="label"/></div> if nothing else helps, but usually <a
id="label"/> comes in context of a document structure, so a good position
would be within a <hn/> or <dt/> element.
You should include div {margin:0;padding:0;} in your stylesheet to avoid
problems with older browsers using <div/> like <p/>.

Believe me, it is perfectly possible to write documents that
- use "latest" features like ECMAScript ("JavaScript"), Java Applets, SVG
Graphics and CSS Level 2 Layout
- are fully backwards compatible to nearly every browserš
- display great on new browsers and old browsers
- display great on text browsers like Lynx or w3m
- look as if they had frames in IE5, 5.5, 6 and Netscape6 / Mozilla with the
use of the CSS Level 2 overflow property though they do not use the Frameset
document type, so they are viewable with browsers that aren't capable of
displaying frames
- are valid XHTML Basic 1.0, XHTML 1.0 Strict or XHTML 1.1.

If you have questions or problems regarding this, feel free and drop a line
to me.

I think that frames will die anyway, XHTML 1.1 does only have one document
type, not three, that corresponds to strict; Transitional and Frameset are
likely to die. XHTML Basic doesn't support Frames, too, of course.

šNetscape 4 and elder require empty element tags for empty elements to use
whitespace before the /, so write <br /> instead of <br/>;
javax.swing.text.JEditorPane based browsers like HotJava or self-made
Java-written browsers have a bug and will display the / in empty element
tags. Always use ASCII only as encoding, this is UTF-8 compatible since it
only uses characters with numbers 0-127, and omit the XML declaration, which
only is allowed if you use UTF-8 for encoding, which is the case if you use
ASCII. Encode all characters that are not ASCII-characters (US-ASCII-7) like
Umlauts with their corresponding entites.



-----Original Message-----
From: www-html-request@w3.org [mailto:www-html-request@w3.org]On Behalf Of
Matt Brooks
Sent: Wednesday, September 05, 2001 6:43 PM
To: www-html@w3.org
Subject: "alt" attribute required by XHTML 1.0

I was surprised to see that the ALT attribrute is required by the XHTML 1.0
Transitional DTD. I was going to use XHTML 1.0 Transitional in a web
development project, but have now changed my mind because the ALT attributes
are not needed on every image.

 - Matt

-----Another Original Message-----
No, because "" produces an empty (but displayed) tooltip in some browsers.
This is unacceptable.
Received on Wednesday, 5 September 2001 17:21:02 UTC

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