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Re: storing info in XSL-FO: new issue? [was: Draft TAG Finding:...]

From: Elliotte Rusty Harold <elharo@metalab.unc.edu>
Date: Fri, 16 Aug 2002 22:05:25 -0400
Message-Id: <p04330100b98359096bef@[192.168.254.4]>
To: www-tag@w3.org
Cc: www-style@w3.org, w3c-css-wg@w3.org

At 3:09 PM +0200 8/16/02, Håkon Wium Lie wrote:
>Also sprach Elliotte Rusty Harold:
>
>  > I do not think XSL-FO is any more or less semantic than HTML.
>
>Really?
>
>How do you express that some text is a headline in XSL-FO? Or that
>some string is a variable?
>

As it happens, when I read this message I had the Mercury News open 
in a browser window, so I looked at how they expressed headlines in 
HTML:

<a 
href="http://ae.bayarea.com/entertainment/ui/bayarea/restaurant.html?id=60966&reviewId=11135" 
class="headline">Pizza heaven</a>

This does not seem all that far removed from

<fo:basic-link 
external-destination="http://ae.bayarea.com/entertainment/ui/bayarea/restaurant.html?id=60966&reviewId=11135" 
role="headline">Pizza heaven</fo:basic-link>

The New York Times does it a little differently:

<font FACE="Times New Roman,Times,Serif" SIZE="+1"><strong>Baseball 
Players' Union Sets Strike Date for Aug. 30</strong></font>

This is even easier to reproduce in XSL-FO:

<fo:inline font-face="Times New Roman,Times,Serif" font-size="120%" 
font-weight="bold">Baseball Players' Union Sets Strike Date for Aug. 
30</fo:inline>

>Consider one example from Braille renderings. Since Braille characters
>use much space, words are often contracted to fit more text on one
>page. However, some words -- for example program variables -- should
>not be contracted. HTML gives you the ability to express this (using
>the VAR element) and this is crucial to improve Braille renderings.
>XFO, on the other hand, gives access to the text but information that
>can be used to decide if a word can be contracted or not is lost.

Interesting. I wasn't even aware of the VAR element. I wonder how 
many web developers are? And how many use it for its intended purpose?

>The sematics of HTML may be shallow, but it's just enough to enable
>non-visual presentations which is critical for universal
>accessibility.

XSL-FO contains all the aural properties of CSS. It is no more 
limited to visual presentation than HTML is (which is to say, in 
practice, it's quite tied to visual layout). I understand the 
theoretical point that HTML does not have any official layout model, 
unlike XSL-FO and SVG. However, the implicit layout model enforced by 
Web browsers is so strong that it renders the point moot. HTML is a 
layout language, a less powerful one than XSL-FO to be sure, but 
still a layout language. DocBook it is not.

In 2002 anyone who thinks an H1 element really means anything other 
than "Make this a big, bold, block level element" is kidding 
themselves. The L in HTML stands for "Language". HTML evolves as all 
languages do. The meaning of its words is defined by its speakers. 
HTML has escaped the ivory tower of semantics, and been vulgarized as 
successful languages always are. The prescriptions of the W3C have 
about as much affect on HTML as the prescriptions of the Académie 
Française have on French (that is, little to none).
-- 

+-----------------------+------------------------+-------------------+
| Elliotte Rusty Harold | elharo@metalab.unc.edu | Writer/Programmer |
+-----------------------+------------------------+-------------------+
|          XML in a  Nutshell, 2nd Edition (O'Reilly, 2002)          |
|              http://www.cafeconleche.org/books/xian2/              |
|  http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISBN%3D0596002920/cafeaulaitA/  |
+----------------------------------+---------------------------------+
|  Read Cafe au Lait for Java News:  http://www.cafeaulait.org/      |
|  Read Cafe con Leche for XML News: http://www.cafeconleche.org/    |
+----------------------------------+---------------------------------+
Received on Friday, 16 August 2002 22:12:07 GMT

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