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Re: [minutes] Internationalization WG telecon 2013-02-21

From: Leif Halvard Silli <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no>
Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2013 19:26:36 +0100
To: Richard Ishida <ishida@w3.org>
Cc: www International <www-international@w3.org>
Message-ID: <20130221192636452494.413fb4b9@xn--mlform-iua.no>
Richard Ishida, Thu, 21 Feb 2013 17:31:58 +0000:

>    fantasai: lri aproach isn't confusing
> 
>    r12a: we'd welcome an alternative name for direction but we
>    couldn't come up with anything as straightforward and intuitive
>    - note that we intend to replace dir with it - we discussed all
>    these things already and tried to summarise in the wiki page

Some comments on the Wiki summary of a new isolate attribute approach. 
Quoting:[1]

> Use dir plus an additional isolate attribute
> Another possibility is to create a new attribute such as isolate, 
> which would be used to complement dir. This ensures that lagging 
> browsers display the new-style markup at least as well as HTML4.
> One problem with using an additional attribute (such as in <span 
> dir=rtl isolate=yes>…</span>) is that it doesn't encourage use of 
> isolation by default.

The example shown above (in the Wiki), seems different from what should 
be recommended, if this approach were taken.

Firstly, the isolate attribute ought to be called unicode-bidi, after 
the name in CSS, and take (some of) the same values as the CSS 
property, with the empty string as well as the invalid default set to 
synonyms for unicode-bide="isolate". Building on the CSS property would 
be a strength of this approach. The two formats, CSS and HTML, would 
support each others.

(Btw: Attributes that take yes/no values is something HTML5 has very 
few of - its is perhaps only present in the ARIA attributes.)

The recommended use should be to apply it on the root element - <html 
uncicode-bidi="">. Its presence would then change the default behavior 
to isolate for all child elements. This would also be a very simple 
method for fixing already created Web pages and Web page templates - 
much simpler than all the other methods that have been proposed (such 
as new direction attribute and attributes for the dir attribute.)

Wiki quote continues: 
>  It also adds a significant, permanent burden 
> for the author creating bidi text since this markup will be used 
> anywhere there are directional changes in pages written in 
> right-to-left scripts (and that's a lot). The additional effort 
> required to create extra markup is no longer insignificant in such a 
> context. It also appears to place a choice before authors which 
> requires them to understand the concepts related to isolation vs. 
> non-isolation: this is actually not something they need to concern 
> themselves with.

I believe that the message that authors should, from now on, add 
unicode-bidi="" on the root element (note that it would be conforming 
to simply do <html unicode-bidi>), would both be pretty simple to get 
and also look pretty attractive.

[1] 
http://www.w3.org/International/wiki/Html-bidi-isolation#Use_dir_plus_an_additional_isolate_attribute

-- 
leif halvard silli
Received on Thursday, 21 February 2013 18:27:11 GMT

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