W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > December 2003

Re: [XHTML2] On the subject of handling quotations

From: Ernest Cline <ernestcline@mindspring.com>
Date: Sat, 13 Dec 2003 00:32:50 -0500
Message-ID: <410-220031261353250750@mindspring.com>
To: "Lachlan Hunt" <lachlan.hunt@iinet.net.au>, "W3C HTML List" <www-html@w3.org>




> [Original Message]
> From: Lachlan Hunt <lachlan.hunt@iinet.net.au>
>
>
> > IN SUMMARY
> > To handle quotes correctly will require either a very complicated
> > and mostly redundant structure for the quotation element that hand
coders
> > will absolutely despise or reverting back to what HTML 4 calls for,
i.e.,
> > for the user agent to add the quote marks.
>
>    No, I disagree with this.  I do, however, agree with the current 
> XHTML2 draft when it states, for the quote element:
>
> "Visual user agents must not by default add delimiting quotation marks 
> (as was the case for the q element in earlier versions of XHTML). It is 
> the responsibility of the document author to add any required quotation 
> marks, either directly in the text, or via a stylesheet."
>
>    Requiring a UA to add them by default will, as your examples show, 
> cause problems for multi-lingual documents.  Requiring authors to use 
> CSS solves the problem because, as your examples also show, quotes can 
> be specified based on the containing elements language.
> > :lang(en)>*, :root:lang(en) { quotes: "\201C" "\201D" "\2018" "\2019"}
> > :lang(fr)>*, :root:lang(fr) { quotes: "\00AB" "\00BB" "\2039" "\203A"}

Requiring stylesheets is my opinion, NOT ACCEPTABLE.
It doesn't have to be pretty or elegant, but a user agent should be able
to present a correct presentation of the content given just the XHTML.
Making it look nice is the province of stylesheets.  If you feel that
having the quote marks added as per HTML 4 is not appropriate,
then the only other acceptable solution in my opinion that allows
XHTML to handle quotes correctly is to use an element to provide
the quote marks and that gets cumbersome very quickly. 

Given the ubiquity of the plain single quote and the plain double quote
as a result of computers, I feel using those as default quote marks
is acceptable.  Their meaning is unmistakable and they clearly indicate
nested quotes.  That they are not the preferred quote marks is
irrelevant.  The preferred quote marks can as you have observed
be indicated by styling.

>    Quotes are presentational, and because of their complicated nature, 
> especially when it comes to multi-lingual documents, should be handled 
> by the author.
>
>    As for the difference between <blockquote> and <quote>, if the 
> difference is just *presentational* then a single <quote> element could 
> replace the need for two elements.  This can be handled by the author 
> supplying an appropriate class and CSS.

Maybe yes, maybe no.  Quotations need to be available for both
block and inline content.  However it may be necessary to have separate
versions so that elements that need to have only inline content
get only inline content.  If we were using SGML instead of XML,
I would totally agree with you, but the apparent inability to enforce
restrictions on non-direct descendants in XML may make retaining the
block/inline distinction if needed by other elements.
Received on Saturday, 13 December 2003 00:33:09 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0+W3C-0.50 : Tuesday, 27 March 2012 18:15:59 GMT