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RE: Null change proposal for ISSUE-88 (mark II)

From: CE Whitehead <cewcathar@hotmail.com>
Date: Tue, 6 Apr 2010 20:55:21 -0400
Message-ID: <SNT142-w2768407C51A15A2AFC2C7EB3170@phx.gbl>
To: <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no>
CC: <ian@hixie.ch>, <public-html@w3.org>, <julian.reschke@gmx.de>, <www-international@w3.org>

RE: Null change proposal for ISSUE-88 (mark II)

Hi Leif all; sorry if this got wordy.

From: Leif Halvard Silli <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no> 
Date: Tue, 6 Apr 2010 14:44:06 +0200
To: CE Whitehead <cewcathar@hotmail.com> 

> CE Whitehead, Mon, 5 Apr 2010 23:40:11 -0400:
>> So I cannot go with Leif's suggestion that you go all the way and 
>> give all priority to the http header.

> Not a suggestion. Merely an assertion that it would have been *logical* 
> if http header took precedence. However, as since noted: what HTML4 
> says about the "default-style" header/http-equiv, both seems more 
> logical and more factual: [1] "If two or more META declarations or HTTP 
> headers specify the preferred style sheet, the last one takes 
> precedence." 
Thanks Leif, for your correction.

Thanks also for supplying the HTML4 spec language here.
I like it but can't find it myself.
(Do you have a link to it?)

All I can see is that the meta tags are completely optional
and so apparently do not seem to be mentioned in the hierarchies listing
information about language inheritance:

I did check out the XML specs:


Agreeing with Leif I think again,
I would like to see the following incorporated into the html specs:
"In particular, the empty value of xml:lang is used on an element B to override a specification of xml:lang 
on an enclosing element A, without specifying another language. Within B, it is considered that 
there is no language information available, just as if xml:lang had not been specified on B 
or any of its ancestors"


Please point me to anything this specific about the empty string being used to overwrite language info in the html4 specs


One other note:

On considering all this,
I do think there can be both normative and informative specs for programming languages such as html
as there are these days for natural language style.


Normative of course specifies what is done as far as processing goes
and even maybe what is done as far as content-authoring goes
(for example I personally fear having lang= the empty string  for my content
because I think that the document encoding might 
not be enough to guarantee processing of my generally Latin-1 characters
by perhaps some browser in the U.S. or even elsewhere;
there is nothing like being robust;

so it's better to say lang=anything whatever than nothing
that is if I have a doc that is truly multilingual French English
I must still arbitrarily pick one to populate the html lang= attribute
just to make sure that a language can be detected at some point.
If everyone did the same [& I at least am saying 'if'] 
then we could write normative specs recommmending that when a doc really contains content in several languages
one should be randomly picked to fill the html lang= attribute

assuming that this was something everyone wanted to do)


Informative specs can be written on occasion too;
those are a way to try to get everyone (browser developers, content writers, etc.) onto the same page.




C. E. Whitehead
Received on Wednesday, 7 April 2010 00:55:54 UTC

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