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RE: Comment on working draft "Specifying Language in XHTML and HTML Content"

From: CE Whitehead <cewcathar@hotmail.com>
Date: Thu, 15 Mar 2007 13:08:07 -0500
Message-ID: <BAY114-F938E8EBA76F800D804DBAB3720@phx.gbl>
To: ishida@w3.org
Cc: www-international@w3.org

Dr. Ishida, Mark--
Section 3 does introduce meta data and such but not the illustrations

I would just copy something brief from the beginning of section 4.2 into the 
top of 4.1
{e.g., "In section 4.2 <link> this document recommends that you declare the 
text-processing language for content, using attributes on the html element 
(? and on any element where the content-language changes???).  This document 
also recommends using the HTTP Content Language header and/or the meta 
element set to Content-Language to indicate the audience language[s]." }

"4.2 Which approach should I use?

"In short, this document recommends that you always declare the 
text-processing language for content, at the document level and wherever the 
language of the content changes. We recommend that you do so using 
attributes in the html element and on any element containing content in a 
different language.

"If you want to provide metadata about the language of the document's 
intended audience, you should use one or more of the other mechanisms 
described in the previous section in addition to the attributes."

{A note on 4.2, Par 2;
I would specify the other mechanisms:
"should use the HTTP Content Language header and/or the meta element set to 
Content-Language" }

{Then--can you indicate the primary uses of the various illustrations in 4.1
in the section titles ??? That would be quick and helpful }
4.1.4 HTTP header  { ? > The HTTP Header (Audience Language) }

4.1.7  DOCTYPE declarations (Not for setting natural language) is a real 
mess because people looking over it fast may assume
that you use this declaration to set language

* **
Also on another issue (Best Practice 6, section 5):

"Best Practice 6: Choosing between Content-Language and attributes
"Use language attributes rather than HTTP or meta elements to declare the 
default text-processing language.

"How to: Use the lang  and/or xml:lang attributes on the html tag. Example 
14 declares an HTML document to be in Canadian French."

{Add below this:  "(Alternately, Use the lang and/or xml:lang attributes on 
other document elements, when there is no single text processing 

{Of course, Best Practice 6 is not recommending choosing between content 
language and attributes, but instead recommending using both (I think),
but just recommending the attributes for indicating the text processing 
language only
therefore its title should read something like:

"Attributes/ HTML/XHTML Attributes (Not Meta Tag) for Declaring Language of 

it's necessary to say again here,  "Declaring Language of Content;" people 
have forgotten it!!!}

C. E. Whitehead

>I think I understand what you are looking for in (a).  I had thought that 
>Section 2 Why specify language? would fulfill that role, but it doesn't 
>mention the difference between text-processing and metadata, which is 
>fairly crucial to a good answer, but hasn't yet been introduced.
4.2 does mention this I think! Is introduced somewhat in section 3!!!

At the same time, people need to know at an early stage why they should read 
>So I'm thinking to retitle section 2 as "Why read this document?"  and add 
>a small section before the current 4.1 with the title "Why specify 
>language" that echos some of section 2 wrt text-processing declarations, 
>and uses the first para of section 4.2.2 for the metadata.

That's a good idea, but I'd put this in 4.1 though--
>We do already include the info about the current value of attribute 
>declarations and metadata declarations in BP 1 and BP 9, respectively.
>As for your question (b), the answer is that the attributes in html take 
>precedence over the HTTP header information according to the spec and in 
>practice, and the meta element declaration is a completely ineffective 
>squib as far as I'm aware.

>Although we have references that explicitly mention precedence, I was 
>surprised to find no mention of it in the BPs.  I'll add a short para in a 
>couple of places.
>Richard Ishida
>Internationalization Lead
>W3C (World Wide Web Consortium)
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: www-international-request@w3.org
> > [mailto:www-international-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Mark Davis
> > Sent: 14 March 2007 21:25
> > To: John Cowan
> > Cc: www-international@w3.org
> > Subject: Re: Comment on working draft "Specifying Language in
> > XHTML and HTML Content"
> >
> > You misunderstand. Nobody is trying to game the system. The
> > issue is to understand
> > a) what actual, physical effects I should/may see out of
> > doing each one of these things, and
> > b) if there is a mismatch (I made it a large difference just
> > for illustration), what should/may the effects be?
> >
> > Unless we can understand what the effects will be, what is
> > the point of advice one direction or the other?
> >
> > Mark
> >
> >
> > On 3/14/07, John Cowan < cowan@ccil.org> wrote:
> >
> > 	Mark Davis scripsit:
> >
> > 	> Thanks. That looks better, but still doesn't address
> > my main concern. How
> > 	> should my document be treated differently and by what
> > processes if I make
> > 	> the html lang be "en" and the HTTP tag be "fr" and
> > the meta tag be "de"?
> >
> > 	See the .sig below for what should happen.
> >
> > 	Seriously, the BP addresses which mechanism to use if
> > you are using
> > 	just one, not when and how to game the system by using
> > contradictory
> > 	metadata in different locations.  That's like asking what to do
> > 	with an attachment or download named "picture.gif"
> > which on inspection
> > 	turns out to be an executable.
> >
> > 	--
> > 	SAXParserFactory [is] a hideous, evil monstrosity of a
> > class that should
> > 	be hung, shot, beheaded, drawn and quartered, burned at
> > the stake,
> > 	buried in unconsecrated ground, dug up, cremated, and
> > the ashes tossed
> > 	in the Tiber while the complete cast of Wicked sings
> > "Ding dong, the
> > 	witch is dead."  --Elliotte Rusty Harold on xml-dev
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > --
> > Mark
> >
>No virus found in this outgoing message.
>Checked by AVG Free Edition.
>Version: 7.5.446 / Virus Database: 268.18.11/722 - Release Date: 14/03/2007 

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Received on Thursday, 15 March 2007 18:08:55 UTC

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