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Proposal for <abbr> in XHTML (was: Re: Question about HTML abbr and acronym tags)

From: Peter Neumann <chiaki@dark-chiaki.net>
Date: Wed, 09 Jan 2008 14:07:12 +0100
Message-Id: <952295755@web.de>
To: www-html@w3.org

Just as a side note... In XHTML 1.1 there is markup for Ruby Text:
>> http://www.w3.org/TR/ruby/

Why not introduce a similar markup for abbreviations in XHTM2? Most likely as a new XHTML module (for use even in XHTML1.1), because the needs for marking up abbreviations seems to be much more complex then just <abbr title="expanded">short</abbr>.

With this, you'll be able to choose either expand the short term on the document top as "short (expanded)", or you would like to mark the abbreviations up with something like the following. Since in many languages an acronym is just a subtype of abbreviations, I think there’s no need for <acronym> at all.


---first occurrence---
<abbr xml:id="britbroadccastdef" xml:lang="en-GB">
  <term num="[s|p]">BBC</term>
  <expanded>British Broadcasting Corporation</expanded>
  <spelling nat="[national term spelling/pronouncing here, i.e. according to xml:lang]" int="[international term spelling/pronouncing here, i.e. using the International Phonetic Alphabet]" />

---next occurrences---
  <reference href="#britbroadccastdef" />

  xml:id # IMPLIED
  xml:lang # IMPLIED
  num # IMPLIED , "s" for singular and "p" for plural
expanded # IMPLIED
spelling # IMPLIED
  nat # IMPLIED
  int # IMPLIED
reference #IMPLIED
  href # IMPLIED

If <spelling-nat> is given, but no language is detectable in the entire document, <spelling-nat> should be ignored and either <spelling-int> should be used or <spelling> should be treated as missing.

If <spelling> is missed in a defining <abbr>, a fallback should be given, for example the International Phonetic Alphabet or any other (Internet) Standard.

Any <abbr><term>…</term></abbr> without either definition or reference should be treated as unknown, displayed as is and pronounced with UA standard. Of course, this should be the fallback, if an author MUST use the abbreviation.


An UA witch doesn’t support the new <abbr> module will still display the term and the expansion (if given). Supporting UA will be able to provide additional information to the user - for the best case the UA is able to resolve the expansion from a local or network resource following the href attribute in <reference>, so the author will be able to change 1 recourse and every referencing <abbr> gets updated.

Ok, new markup like the example above requires more source code and little more coding time, but if you want <abbr> to become somewhat useful, I think this could be the first step for further discussion :-)

Best regards,
Peter Neumann

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Received on Wednesday, 9 January 2008 13:07:23 UTC

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