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Re: [CSS21] Features at risk: quote in CSS or Q in HTML

From: Al Gilman <Alfred.S.Gilman@IEEE.org>
Date: Fri, 15 Jul 2005 13:59:50 -0400
Message-Id: <p0611040cbefda0094a7e@[]>
To: Karl Dubost <karl@w3.org>, www-style@w3.org

At 3:04 PM -0400 7/13/05, Karl Dubost wrote:
>Maybe a coordination between the two Working Group is necessary. If 
>quote is dropped, I fear that Q becomes de facto obsolete in HTML 
>4.01 for its rendering part (not the semantic one).

* summary [estimated outcome of such a dialog]

CSS 2.1: will say "no problem" because :before and :after let you add
quotes if you have a text that does <q> by the book and a browser
that does not.

HTML WG: will say that an erratum to HTML 4.01 is out of scope.  They
just don't have resources to chase perfection in the HTML 4.01 domain.

Both would feel there is no acute problem, as current users of HTML 4.01 can:
- if current browsers are consistent, write their stylesheets
appropriate to whatever the consistent bahavior is (inject quotes or
- if current browsers are inconsistent, browser-sniff and use :before
and :after to inject [language and nesting appropriate] quotation
characters for the browsers that do not automatically inject them
from their HTML processing.  This is not idea but is widely practiced
by those who wish to take full advantage of CSS.

* details

The leaning that PF is following in its work on access to interactive
widgets in web applications is to lean in the direction of practices
that anticipate and are friendly to migration to the
second-generation model in XHTML 2.0.

It is unclear that an erratum published against HTML 4.01 would
actually alter the current default presentation practices of
browsers -- what they do in the absence of a stylesheet. Particularly
since there are adequate tools in HTML 4.01 + CSS 2.1 (without a
'quotes' property) to produce the desired appearance effectively.

In a stylesheet we are not dependent on having a 'quotes' property
because the desired effect can be produced with :before and :after
generated text referencing specific Unicode code points as

The awareness of quotation nesting can be in the style rule selectors
or in rules in the authoring tools allocating the styles and
depositing 'class' marks in the content sufficient to discriminate
the presentation cases.


>I see a danger here and a need maybe to coordinate with HTML WG.
>The 'quotes' property and the 'open-quote', 'close-quote', 
>'no-open-quote' and 'no-close-quote' keywords may be dropped.
>In HTML 4.01, we can read
>Visual user agents must ensure that the content of the Q element is 
>rendered with delimiting quotation marks. Authors should not put 
>quotation marks at the beginning and end of the content of a Q 
>User agents should render quotation marks in a language-sensitive 
>manner (see the lang attribute). Many languages adopt different 
>quotation styles for outer and inner (nested) quotations, which 
>should be respected by user-agents.
>]]] - 
>We know that this feature has never been implemented, or at least 
>never fully inside browsers. Too complicated? Too much work? There's 
>a running bug for Mozilla for a many years on that. IE 5 Macintosh 
>had a partial implementation of it, with display problems.
>Another way to see it for implementers is specifically to use CSS 
>"quote" to specify the character to insert depending on the 
>language. Then the author in the CSS, specify only what it needs and 
>the implementers doesn't have to implement all possible cases.
>So I wonder is it easier
>     to implement quote in CSS 2, CSS 2.1?
>     or to implement q in HTML 4.01?
>Maybe a coordination between the two Working Group is necessary. If 
>quote is dropped, I fear that Q becomes de facto obsolete in HTML 
>4.01 for its rendering part (not the semantic one).
>Another solution would be to drop quote in CSS, and to issue an 
>errata (update) for HTML 4.01 saying that Q MUST NOT be rendered by 
>user agents and that the author should take care of the quote 
>characters to use (like in XHTML 2.0). Though this would mean 
>authors, please fix all your documents on the Web.
>Karl Dubost - http://www.w3.org/People/karl/
>W3C Conformance Manager
>*** Be Strict To Be Cool ***
Received on Friday, 15 July 2005 20:43:45 UTC

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