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RE: FAQ: CSS vs. markup for bidi support

From: Richard Ishida <ishida@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2007 18:14:00 +0100
To: "'Bert Bos'" <bert@w3.org>, "'WWW International'" <www-international@w3.org>
Cc: "'fantasai'" <fantasai.lists@inkedblade.net>
Message-ID: <01f401c7e996$d3c04d70$6601a8c0@rishida>

> XHTML (application/xhtml+xml), however, *does* have meaning. 
> The XHTML specification says pretty much that the meaning of 
> the mark-up is the same as that of similar HTML mark-up.

Bert, I looked for that in the XHTML 1.0 spec, and I just double-checked,
but couldn't find it.  Can you point to the relevant wording?

Richard Ishida
Internationalization Lead
W3C (World Wide Web Consortium)

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Bert Bos [mailto:bert@w3.org] 
> Sent: 28 August 2007 16:59
> To: 'WWW International'
> Cc: fantasai; 'Richard Ishida'
> Subject: Re: FAQ: CSS vs. markup for bidi support
> On Tuesday 28 August 2007 16:22, fantasai wrote:
> > I was looking at
> >    http://www.w3.org/International/questions/qa-bidi-css-markup
> > yesterday and noticed that there's still a major error in this
> > section:
> > http://www.w3.org/International/questions/qa-bidi-css-markup#xhtml
> >
> > Specifically, because namespacing allows XHTML to be recognized as 
> > XHTML even in compound documents, XHTML 'dir' attributes 
> should work 
> > in browsers even when the document is served as XML.
> That's not so clear. I think you should distinguish known 
> document types from generic XML.
> The meaning of every bit of mark-up depends on the context in 
> which it is used, starting from the MIME type of the document 
> as a whole. E.g., the fact that
>     <h:li>The second item.</h:li>
> is displayed as
>     2. The second item.
> is not because the meaning of h:li elements is to display 
> "2.", but because it happens to be the second element in 
> another element that happens to be a list in the context of 
> this document.
> Namespaces are no different from attributes in that respect. 
> They are more difficult to understand and handle because they 
> are inherited and abbreviated, but otherwise they are just 
> mark-up, i.e., syntax, without any inherent, 
> context-independent meaning. E.g., a namespace in an XSLT 
> document has a very different function from one in an RDF 
> document, which is again different from a WICD.
> It is, of course, bad practice to use namespaces in 
> unexpected ways in different documents, just as it is bad 
> practice to use the "wrong" 
> names for elements (you don't call a list item <red-cow>, 
> even though the computer doesn't care), but sometimes it's 
> unavoidable.
> Which means, in brief, that seeing an h:dir attribute outside 
> of XHTML (where h is the namespace of XHTML, which I don't 
> know by heart),
> *suggests* that the enclosing element is to be rendered with 
> a certain writing direction, but you can't be sure, unless 
> you start with the MIME type and that MIME type's RFC and 
> work your way through the document with the specification in hand.
> A text/xml or application/xml document has, by definition, no 
> meaning other than what the style sheet PI (if any) provides. 
> XHTML (application/xhtml+xml), however, *does* have meaning. 
> The XHTML specification says pretty much that the meaning of 
> the mark-up is the same as that of similar HTML mark-up.
> So I agree that the quoted FAQ is incorrect for XHTML ("dir" 
> works without any style rules), but I believe it is correct 
> for generic XML ("dir" needs style rules to work).
> Bert
> -- 
>   Bert Bos                                ( W 3 C ) http://www.w3.org/
>   http://www.w3.org/people/bos                               W3C/ERCIM
>   bert@w3.org                             2004 Rt des Lucioles / BP 93
>   +33 (0)4 92 38 76 92            06902 Sophia Antipolis Cedex, France
Received on Tuesday, 28 August 2007 17:11:59 UTC

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