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RE: New Working Group Note: Best Practices for XML Internationalization

From: rosennej <rosennej@qsm.co.il>
Date: Thu, 14 Feb 2008 19:17:09 +0200
To: "'Richard Ishida'" <ishida@w3.org>, "'Tex Texin'" <tex@yahoo-inc.com>
Cc: "'WWW International'" <www-international@w3.org>
Message-ID: <001b01c86f2d$73907e80$5ab17b80$@co.il>

The Unicode bidi control codes apply to the text up to the level of a
paragraph, whatever this means. Markup applies to the document and its
parts, such as pages, tables, cells, etc. Markup also defines a particular
meaning of the term paragraph. Below the level of the paragraph, markup and
control codes can be equivalent, depending on the markup language, and which
of them to prefer is in my judgment a matter of convenience rather than of


-----Original Message-----
From: www-international-request@w3.org
[mailto:www-international-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Richard Ishida
Sent: Thursday, February 14, 2008 3:08 PM
To: 'Tex Texin'
Cc: 'WWW International'
Subject: RE: New Working Group Note: Best Practices for XML

Hi Tex,

I have reflected on a number of occasions whether it would make sense to use
control codes rather than markup, and I'm not convinced that it would.

There are, of course, places where you have no choice (ie. attribute values
and elements that support only plain text - though the best practices
document also tries to convince schema authors to avoid defining those). But
have you ever tried creating a page based solely on control codes for an RTL
language? You can't rely on putting dir="rtl" in the <html> tag and then
just tweaking where needed - you need to put (invisible) control codes in
every block element.  Managing the scope across the document becomes very
difficult. You also have problems getting table columns and numbered lists
to switch around based on the directional context.  You also have to set
right alignment for the blocks with a default context of right-to-left -
which is actually likely to involve you having to mark them up much as you
would with bidi markup anyway.  Basically, I don't think you are any better

The problem you seem to have encountered relates, it seems to me, to the
editor support for bidi text, rather than the browser support.

I think it would be better to complain to the editor implementers that they
should start to recognize bidi tags and control code escapes and be more
intelligent about interpreting them in order to solve that problem, rather
than make people use control codes.  (Note btw that if you try to make the
control codes visible using NCRs or entities you run into the same issues
with editors.)  I think markup is still problematic because the technology
has *not* caught up with user's needs - not the browser technology, but the
editing technology.


[1] http://www.w3.org/International/questions/qa-bidi-controls

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 Tex Texin
> Sent: 14 February 2008 07:32
> To: Felix Sasaki; WWW International
> Subject: RE: New Working Group Note: Best Practices for XML
> Internationalization
> Thanks Felix.
> I appreciate the hard work that goes into a document like this and the
> difficulty of the task.
> At the same time, I am skeptical about the term "best practices".
> For starters, we are long overdue to get rid of the idea we need markup
> for bidi control when unicode controls can do the same thing, and work in
> contexts where bidi markup cannot go.
> When editors did not support bidi, it made sense to make it visible and
> the results would be seen in a browser.
> As editors today support bidi, it makes little sense to not be WYSIWYG,
> and see the results as you edit, as opposed to inserting bidi markup and
> having to switch feom edit to browser and back to understand how the text
> is impacted.
> The joint Unicode-W3C standard should be revised to reflect a more
> sensible practice.
> We should make sure best practices documents are updated to reflect modern
> tools and capabilities and not just repeating folklore.
> How do we achieve giving these recommendations greater scrutiny and
> considering alternatives and validating the practices?
> I know the team is not staffed sufficiently to do this alone. We need to
> find a way to address this though.
> tex
> -----Original Message-----
> From: www-international-request@w3.org [mailto:www-international-
> request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Felix Sasaki
> Sent: Wednesday, February 13, 2008 10:51 PM
> To: 'WWW International'
> Subject: New Working Group Note: Best Practices for XML
> Internationalization
> The Internationalization Tag Set Working Group has published the Group
> Note "Best Practices for XML Internationalization".
> http://www.w3.org/TR/2008/NOTE-xml-i18n-bp-20080213/
> This document provides a set of guidelines for developing XML documents
> and schemas that are internationalized properly. Following the best
> practices describes here allow both the developer of XML applications, as
> well as the author of XML content to create material in different
> languages.
> Many thanks to the people from this list who contributed to the document
> with their comments.
> Felix
Received on Thursday, 14 February 2008 17:17:33 UTC

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