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ABBR support (was Re: Promotion of XHTML)

From: Sander Tekelenburg <tekelenb@euronet.nl>
Date: Tue, 7 Jan 2003 17:03:49 +0100
Message-Id: <a05200f05ba40986c696c@[192.168.0.102]>
To: <www-html@w3.org>

[Changed the Subject header to allow those who weren't intereted in this
sidestep to kill this thread. Sorry. I should have done this right away.]

At 04:16 -0800 UTC, on 1/7/03, Tantek Çelik wrote:

> On 12/31/02 6:10 PM, "Sander Tekelenburg" <tekelenb@euronet.nl> wrote:

[...]

> There is no normative (nor even informative) default style sheet rule for
> ABBR in the HTML4.01 spec.

True. That applies to just about everything in the HTML 4.01 spec. At best,
it points to the odd common use. (Like presenting H1 really, really big. How
imaginative... ;))

[...]

	[IE 5.x Mac]

> so thus we didn't small-caps ABBR (however we did for ACRONYM
> which results in an "Economist" like styling of ACRONYMs).

Hm... I never saw that happen, so now that you mention this, I experimented a
bit more. It turns out IE indeed transforms the text to small-caps, but only
when the original text is normal. When the original is in capitals, IE does
not change it to small-caps. That must be why I never noticed this before.

I don't find anything in CSS 2 that says capitals are not to be transformed
to small-caps. I suppose this is a bug then?

[...]

>> I suppose that in the strictest sense, you could therefore say Mac IE 5.x
>> supports <ABBR>.
>
> Precisely.

Hehe :)

>> However, when you consider this sentence from the HTML 4.01
>> specs "The ABBR and ACRONYM elements allow authors to *clearly indicate*
>> occurrences of abbreviations and acronyms.", [emphasis mine] then maybe it
>> becomes a bit of a stretch to say that Mac IE 5.x supports <ABBR>.
>
> Not at all.   From your quote:

[...]

Yes, I see your point, and I agree that the HTML specs are often poorly
worded and thus way too open for interpretation, which often leads to
nit-picking over what was meant (which I'd like to avoid). But when I stumble
upon a case like this, I ask myself why the authors of the spec would have
bothered to add an ABBR element at all then? After all, following your
interpretation, why not simply tell authors to use SPAN CLASS="abbr"? Equally
meaningless. Why would the authors of the spec have bothered to create an
element for this? The only answer that makes sense to me, is that they meant
for user agents to apply a style to ABBR. They just forgot to mention it ;)

(Yes, I'm aware that with ABBR, users can apply a User Style Sheet, which
wouldn't work well at all with author defined classnames. But how many users
will bother to learn CSS? Plus, the HTML 4 spec doesn't speak of "allowing
_users_ to [etc]", but of "allowing _authors_ to [etc]".)


-- 
Sander Tekelenburg, <http://www.euronet.nl/~tekelenb/>
Received on Tuesday, 7 January 2003 11:04:28 GMT

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