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Re: CSS2.1 :lang

From: Chris Lilley <chris@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 23:23:04 +0200
Message-ID: <18316510540.20031016232304@w3.org>
To: "Jukka K. Korpela" <jkorpela@cs.tut.fi>
Cc: Bert Bos <bert@w3.org>, Tex Texin <tex@i18nguy.com>, www-style@w3.org, W3c I18n Group <w3c-i18n-ig@w3.org>

On Thursday, October 16, 2003, 9:41:46 PM, Jukka wrote:

JKK> On Thu, 16 Oct 2003, Chris Lilley wrote:

>> It would match those that have no language set.
>>
>> BB> But making it match elements with no language seems the most useful,
>> BB> especially since it parallels RFC 3066.
>>
>> I agree, and that is also the definition of xml:lang="".

JKK> I don't quite understand the crossposting, but I suppose there is a
JKK> reason.

In a discussion of style and internationalization, crossposting to a
style group and an internationalization groups seems entirely natural.

JKK> Anyway, what the XML specification says about the xml:lang attribute is
JKK> that "The values of the attribute are language identifiers as defined by
JKK> [IETF RFC 1766], Tags for the Identification of Languages, or its
JKK> successor on the IETF Standards Track."

Please also look at the XML 1.0 eratta, and the XML 1.1 specification.

JKK> I see no way how an empty string
JKK> could be interpreted as an accepted value for the attribute.

I do, but then I am reading later specs than you seem to be.

JKK> By the HTML 4.* specification,

(who cares!) its being phased out in favour of the one that the rest
of xml uses.

JKK> the default value of the lang attribute is
JKK> unknown. This is really mystical, but it seems to postulate that there
JKK> _is_ a default value.

One which was not possible to put in the serialisation, so yes
previously rather mystical. In particular, once it was set on some
element, it could not be undet on any children. Thats what xml:lang=""
does.

>> I agree that CSS should not be required to know whether language tags
>> have been registered or not.

JKK> If something is defined as being, say, a language code, then _some_
JKK> definition is needed for what those codes are. But CSS processors need not
JKK> know much about such things. They effectively treat language codes as
JKK> strings, without caring anything about their meaning; they need not know
JKK> whether "en" means 'English'.

JKK> In practical terms, :lang is pointless until support to language markup
JKK> in browsers becomes worth mentioning.

I don't follow your point, unless you think that xml:lang is solely something
to do with styling. Its not; its also of use for searching, spell
checking, speech synthesis, and so forth.

JKK>  Since the whole point in CSS 2.1
JKK> is to define a practical subset of CSS 2.0, I don't see why :lang is kept
JKK> there at all.

Possibly because, at least in theory, CSS2.1 is not restricted to
buggy HTML browsers that have not changed much over the last 4 years.
Instead, its all CSS implementations.

JKK> Besides, the actual meaning of language markup is still obscure.
JKK> The whole thing is vaguely defined, little used, and little
JKK> supported,

I invite you to back up those claims. I don't see much vagarity of
definition. I see plenty of usage, though perhaps not much in HTML
pages which are mainly presentational crap anyway; for actual XML and
for the broader spectrum of XML usage, its pretty normal to use it
when two or more languages are used in the same document and good
practice when only one is used. As to support, what do you count as
support?

JKK> so it's misleading to keep it in a specification that is supposed
JKK> to describe CSS du jour.

Not really.



-- 
 Chris                            mailto:chris@w3.org
Received on Thursday, 16 October 2003 17:24:41 GMT

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