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Re: "Outline" algorithm (document length and complexity)

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Tue, 26 May 2009 20:24:15 +0000 (UTC)
To: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Cc: Larry Masinter <masinter@adobe.com>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.62.0905262019050.5710@hixie.dreamhostps.com>
On Tue, 26 May 2009, Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
> On May 26, 2009, at 11:24 AM, Larry Masinter wrote:
> >
> > Yes, that would be a bad editorial decision. The question is why 
> > "outline" is part of the vocabulary. What features of HTML use the 
> > "outline" function?
> [...] I think a typical UA would not make use of these semantics 
> directly.

A typical browser wouldn't, but many tools would. For example, th HTML5 
spc itself has a table of contents which is generated using an 
implementation of this very algorithm.

> To turn the outline algorithm into something that can produce testable 
> assertions, it would have to be exposed in some way, either as a DOM 
> interface or by affecting the rendering. If that were done, we could 
> better evaluate it. But I would question the value of a DOM API to 
> expose the outline.

I don't think Web browsers should implement this; this would be something 
that would be implemented (indeed, has already been implemented) in tools 
to aid authors. One could imagine editors exposing the outline explicitly, 
like word processors do.

> From all this I conclude that the current outline section is not a 
> useful piece of spec. It does not currently imply any testable 
> assertions for implementations, and if it did, it would be exceedingly 
> difficult to write and validate a practical implementation.

This seems a very browser-specific outlook. :-)

Incidentally, I do think that section would benefit from being phrased in 
a clearer way. I've already tried to improve it once, with only limited 
success. If anyone can think of a way to better describe this part of the 
spec I would be very happy to update it accordingly.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Tuesday, 26 May 2009 20:24:48 UTC

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