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Re: XHTML 2.0 - dfn : Content model and usability (PR#7832)

From: Rob Simpson <Rob.Simpson@BlackBox.com>
Date: Thu, 23 Mar 2006 14:55:36 -0500
Message-ID: <C070BEDCDF191F42A7BB08BF8C70631743EFB3@SATURN.corp.bbns.com>
To: "'www-html@w3.org'" <www-html@w3.org>

Regarding the "<dfn/>" element, why is yet another "definition of term"
element needed in HTML?  Wouldn't "<dl><dt
id="def-acronym">acronym</dt></dl> the definition" suffice, or is that too
verbose?  Plus the existing structure allows associating one or more
definitions with the term, for example "<dl><dt>acronym</dt><dd>the
definition</dd></dl>" rather than having to use "<span
class="dfn"><dfn>acronym</dfn> the definition</span>".

Or is there a reason that the tags for definitions need to be moved from the
HTML list module to the text module?  If that's the case, will the
"<dl><dt/><dd/></dl>" structure in the list module be deprecated, maybe
replaced by a more-generic semantic-meaning-free (i.e., not a "definition")
hierarchical version, for example "<il><i1><i2><i3/></i2></i1></il>" (an
"indented list" with numbered indentation levels) or "<il><li><li/><li><il>"
(an "indented list" with indentation levels indicated by nesting levels of
the "list item" elements)?

For the text module, would it be possible to use the existing "definition of
term" tag as a standalone element "<dt id="def-acronym">acronym</dt> the
definition" rather than defining a new tag element name for something so
similar?  Semantically, the tag "dfn" sounds more like it should enclose the
definition, rather than the term being defined (the equivalent to the
previous examples would be "<term>acronym</term> <dfn>the
definition</dfn>").

Thanks in advance.
Robert Simpson


-----Original Message-----
From: Shane McCarron <xhtml2-issues@hades.mn.aptest.com> 
Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2006 16:22:57 +0000
To: karl@w3.org 
Cc: www-html@w3.org 
Re: XHTML 2.0 - dfn : Content model and usability (PR#7832)
Message-Id: <20060124162245.086017B6C6@hades.mn.aptest.com> 


Karl,

We will introduce a "definition" value for @role, and will clarify that a
dfn
element declares the term that is being defined by the enclosing scope that
has
a role of definition, should there be one.

> 
> We had a discussion on a French Web developer mailing-list  
> [pompeurs][1] about dfn. The first comment was about the understanding  
> of the definition in the specification. The second comment was about  
> usability and to know if it was very useful.
> 
> 
> * Understanding DFN
> 
> [[[
> 9.4. The dfn element
> 
> The dfn element contains the defining instance of the enclosed term.
> 
> * Attributes
> 
> The Common collection
> 
> A collection of other attribute collections, including: Bi-
> directional, Core, Edit, Embedding, Events, Forms, Hypertext, I18N,
> Map, and Metainformation.
> 
> * Example
> 
> An <dfn id="def-acronym">acronym</dfn> is a word formed
> from the initial letters or groups of letters of words in a set
> phrase or series of words.
> ]]] -  
> http://www.w3.org/TR/2005/WD-xhtml2-20050527/mod- 
> text.html#edef_text_dfn
> 
> 
> Maybe the first sentence should be something like:
> 
> The dfn element contains a word (or a group of words) being defined by  
> one or more sentences.
> 
> 
> * Usability
> 
> It may be good to give usability examples of this element. Why is it  
> useful to use this element?
> 
> 1. Human Usability.
> 
> Defined once somewhere with an "id" (mandatory ?), the definition can  
> be linked from another document, or another part of the text referring  
> to this definition. It's human usability. Though someone could argue  
> that:
> 
> 	An <span id="def-acronym">acronym</span> is a word
> 	formed from the initial letters or groups of letters
>      of words in a set phrase or series of words.
> 
> is not a loss in usability at all. The dfn element having not direct  
> benefits for the user. Even better someone could choose to do.
> 
> 	Blah blah blah. <span id="def-acronym">An acronym is a word
> 	formed from the initial letters or groups of letters
>      of words in a set phrase or series of words.</span> Blah blah blah.
> 
> then it gives the same functionality for the user and it's easier to  
> extract the _exact_ definition.
> 
> 
> 2. Machine Usability.
> 
> Is dfn useful for a machine, a semantics analyzer agent or just a tool  
> to create a list of definition, a glossary from one or a series of  
> page. If we take the example given in XHTML 2.0 right now, I would be  
> inclined to say no.
> 
> 	An <span id="def-acronym">acronym</span> is a word
> 	formed from the initial letters or groups of letters
>      of words in a set phrase or series of words.
> 
> There's a missing element to be really useful.
> 
> 	- A definition can be created by more than one sentence.
> 
> 	<span clas="def">An <span id="def-acronym">acronym</span>
> 	is a word formed from the initial letters or groups
> 	of letters of words in a set phrase or series of words.
> 	Another sentence. Yet another sentence.</span>
> 
> 	- A definition can be included in a more general paragraph.
> 
> 	Some prose. <span clas="def">An <span
id="def-acronym">acronym</span>
> 	is a word formed from the initial letters or groups
> 	of letters of words in a set phrase or series of words.</span>
> 	Some another prose.
> 
> Without the span here, it's impossible for an agent to extract the  
> definition and make a glossary. The user, for sure, could have the  
> choice to do what I have just done, add span in the text. But that  
> would be with a random definition of the class name or the way to do  
> it.
> 
> So I'm not sure if dfn element is useful being underspecified.
> 
> I propose either
> 	- to drop it from the specification
> 	- to add an element making possible to use it for automatic purpose.
> 
> 
> [1]: http://fr.groups.yahoo.com/group/pompeurs/
> 
> -- 
> Karl Dubost - http://www.w3.org/People/karl/
> W3C Conformance Manager
> *** Be Strict To Be Cool ***
> 
> 



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Received on Friday, 24 March 2006 07:25:19 GMT

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