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Re: Why authors are using Transitional (and target="_blank")

From: Sam Kuper <sam.kuper@uclmail.net>
Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2008 13:17:12 +0000
Message-ID: <4126b3450802210517v70a3ea91y191aef44d11a088d@mail.gmail.com>
To: HTMLWG <public-html@w3.org>
On 21/02/2008, Justin James <j_james@mindspring.com> wrote:
> I am curious as to why the HTML 5 spec should even *reference* the concept
> of "clicking". A user agent is not necessarily a Web browser. What should a
> search engine spider's behavior be? Or Lynx? Or some third party tool that
> is trying to properly use the semantic nature of HTML?

HTML specs have referred to clicking since at least as far back as 1995.
(See http://ftp.ics.uci.edu/pub/ietf/html/rfc1866.txt and
http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html32 for instance.)

I agree that target="_blank" is the best possible approach; Web authors, for
> better or worse, need to be able to *request* that a *Web browser* (or
> similar user agent running in a GUI environment) open a new window, tab, or
> other such viewing area for the contents of the link. target=_blank is also
> the most inline with the semantic Web approach; it clearly states its
> intentions in a declarative manner, as opposed to requiring a JavaScript
> interpreter, working within a Web browser user agent to execute it and the
> results to be seen by a human to be understood... that is not "semantic
> Web", that is something else.


Any conversation which brings JavaScript into the equation is asking for
> trouble at the accessibility level, the adoption level, and the non-browser
> user agent level. The entire *point* of the "semantic Web" concept is for
> non-human consumers of HTML documents to be able to derive some semblance of
> meaning from them. Any approach that requires JavaScript, the HTML DOM in
> general, or user intervention is contrary to the semantic Web concept.

I disagree with what you say about the DOM here. "The Document Object Model
is not a way of persisting objects to XML or HTML. Instead of specifying how
objects may be represented in XML, the DOM specifies how XML and HTML
documents are represented as objects, so that they may be used in object
oriented programs." (
http://www.w3.org/TR/1998/REC-DOM-Level-1-19981001/introduction.html) If I
want to parse HTML documents for semantic web purposes (with a perl script,
say), I could do worse than use the DOM to obtain some of the functionality
I might desire. But this is drifting off-topic.

As such, I believe that *any* requirement or reference in the specification
> to things like "left click" and "right click" or any other functions
> *specific* to Web browsers running in a GUI really is not something that
> needs to be in the HTML spec. Let the folks at Opera, Mozilla, Microsoft,
> Apple, etc. write that into their project specifications. After all, how
> should Lynx interpret a spec that demands click-based behavior?

Er... one could equally ask how Lynx ought to interpret the targeting of a
window other than the current one.* The point is, Lynx isn't a fully fledged
UA. Nor are most spiders. And should we get rid of mouse-based event
handling <http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/interact/scripts.html#h-18.2.3>(onclick...,
onmouseover, ...) and graphics and frames from the HTML spec
too, because Lynx doesn't handle them the way a GUI user agent does? I think
not... Anyhow, we're off-topic again.

I know, of course, that extremely few people actually browse the Web using
> Lynx. But the idea is similar to the thermostat or elevator design principle
> of C; if Lynx (or Google's spider, or a Perl script) can't do it or make
> sense of it, there is a good chance that it does not belong in the HTML
> spec.

See rebuttal above.


Received on Thursday, 21 February 2008 13:17:34 UTC

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