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RE: HTML Action Item 54 - ...draft text for HTML 5 spec to require producers/authors to include @alt on img elements.

From: Justin James <j_james@mindspring.com>
Date: Thu, 22 May 2008 10:38:09 -0400
To: "'David Poehlman'" <david.poehlman@handsontechnologeyes.com>, "'Lachlan Hunt'" <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au>, "'Steven Faulkner'" <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>
Cc: <public-html@w3.org>, "'W3C WAI-XTECH'" <wai-xtech@w3.org>, <wai-liaison@w3.org>
Message-ID: <07d701c8bc19$74ed1d40$5ec757c0$@com>

Not only that, but the overwhelming majority of people generating HTML are NOT looking at the HTML, and if they were to be, they don't know much about the HTML spec, and even if they did, they haven't memorized every aspect of the spec. So if a machine can't check it and say, "hey, you goofed here", everyone will be generating non-conformant HTML, even most of the people on this list. Either HTML conformance is extraordinarily easy to achieve, so easy that a 7 year old using Notepad.exe can write conformant code, or it needs to be machine verifiable. If you don't go down one of these routes, only a small fraction of pages will be conformant, which makes it very hard to write software that consumes HTML, and we'll all be wringing our hands 10 years later, complaining about how no one ever writes conformant code, much like we do today.

Machine verification maps nearly directly onto the stated, explicit goal of the "semantic Web." The "semantic Web" isn't about coming up with a million tags with special default styling so that a reader says, "oh, that's a definition!" It is about providing a structure so that machines can "grok" the HTML and get meaning out of it, rather than merely knowing how to present it visually. Any spec in which the authors are easily able to use tags merely for styling, and cannot be machine verified to be correct, certainly cannot be trusted in a "semantic Web" system. Finally, I believe that machine verification is a cornerstone of creating accessible documents. If the authoring tool has no idea what the document is about, then how will any ATs?


-----Original Message-----
From: public-html-request@w3.org [mailto:public-html-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of David Poehlman
Sent: Thursday, May 22, 2008 8:17 AM
To: Lachlan Hunt; Steven Faulkner
Cc: public-html@w3.org; W3C WAI-XTECH; wai-liaison@w3.org
Subject: Re: HTML Action Item 54 - ...draft text for HTML 5 spec to require producers/authors to include @alt on img elements.

you asked why so I will tell you.  If I am in the business of Q A and get 
hired by an entity to check their sites, I am not the author so I need to 
know that validity has or has not been achieved?

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Lachlan Hunt" <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au>
To: "Steven Faulkner" <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>
Cc: <public-html@w3.org>; "W3C WAI-XTECH" <wai-xtech@w3.org>; 
Sent: Thursday, May 22, 2008 8:11 AM
Subject: Re: HTML Action Item 54 - ...draft text for HTML 5 spec to require 
producers/authors to include @alt on img elements.

Steven Faulkner wrote:
> Seems like a good reason to revisit any examples of requirements in
> the spec and provide requirements that are practical to independently
> test conformance, rather than make requirements that cannot be tested
> by anybody other than the author.

Why should we try to optimise the conformance criteria to be machine
checkable by people other than the author (or those affiliated with the
author)?  Machines are inherently limited in their ability to check
documents, so reducing the conformance criteria to be mostly machine
checkable isn't such a good idea; and optimising for people other than
authors seems misguided.

Lachlan Hunt - Opera Software
Received on Thursday, 22 May 2008 14:39:22 UTC

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