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Re: Proposal: ARIA-ROLE & CSS definition integration

From: James Craig <jcraig@apple.com>
Date: Sun, 8 Jun 2008 15:47:48 -0700
Cc: 'Anne van Kesteren' <annevk@opera.com>, 'Leif Halvard Silli' <lhs@malform.no>, elharo@metalab.unc.edu, public-html@w3.org, 'W3C WAI-XTECH' <wai-xtech@w3.org>, www-tag@w3.org
Message-Id: <DD93DCFA-1A18-4A80-9A39-578EA1E807FE@apple.com>
To: Justin James <j_james@mindspring.com>

Justin James wrote:

> So the question isn't, "does this violate separation", but, "is this  
> violation reasonable and healthy?"

I would argue, no. If for no other reason than the fact that CSS is  
about styling, not about adding semantics.

> Regarding your other suggestion, I like it as an option, but not as  
> a replacement.

Yes, I only ever intended it as an option.

> Remember, the systems/UA that need the semantic Web *the most* are  
> the ones not running JavaScript! Search engines, textual analysis,  
> etc.

Are you implying that more search engines parse CSS than parse  
JavaScript? If so, please share the research data or link. Even if  
your new "semantics within a style language" syntax were approved in a  
later version of CSS, it would be years before search engines or user  
agents supported it. ARIA 1.0 is a stop-gap measure that works now, in  
today's technology.

If the 'textual analysis' mention refers to other UAs such as screen  
readers, then remember that ARIA is about defining semantics for Rich  
Internet Applications, almost all of which get their rich interactions  
with the help of JavaScript.

> I think that most HTML authors typically intend for a presentational  
> class to only be used in one semantic role, unless it is generic  
> (like someone using a class with red, large text to mean "important"  
> and "header" at the same time). I think it would be fairly safe to  
> allow the CSS to indicate the semantic role of a definition for that  
> reason, so long as we allow it to be accessed via the DOM *and*  
> specified in the HTML itself.

Semantics should be in the DOM, ideally in the source code, but if  
need be, inserted later via a technology like JavaScript. No current  
version of CSS, nor any near-future version, has this ability. RIAs  
are built today using existing and de facto web standards. The whole  
point of ARIA is to agree on a syntax that will work today AND remain  
useful/extensible for the future, because people aren't going to stop  
building web applications, even if they aren't accessible. Retiring  
some of the syntax to another technology (like XBL if it's well- 
supported then) may be considered in ARIA 2.0, but for today's needs,  
it just isn't feasible.

James Craig
Received on Sunday, 8 June 2008 22:48:30 GMT

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