W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > February 2010

Re: "image analysis heuristics" (ISSUE-66)

From: Shelley Powers <shelley.just@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 7 Feb 2010 08:58:41 -0600
Message-ID: <643cc0271002070658t5799ab1fwdc1b28bf9e02ea56@mail.gmail.com>
To: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Cc: Steven Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>, "public-html@w3.org" <public-html@w3.org>
On Sun, Feb 7, 2010 at 4:06 AM, Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch> wrote:

> On Sun, 7 Feb 2010, Steven Faulkner wrote:
> >
> > As a general rule, people don't follow references.
> >
> > Can you provide support for this statement?
> Sure. Over the years I've worked for Netscape and Opera, as well as
> contributing to the Mozilla, WebKit, and Chromium projects, and regularly
> advising Microsoft. In all of these cases, I have repeatedly seen
> competent engineers do the minimum amount of reading possible to implement
> the feature that they have been tasked to implement. Again in all cases, I
> have found them to implement things better when they are faced with clear
> unambiguous steps to implement, rather than when they are presented with
> constraints; and (more germane here) I've found them to treat suggestions
> inlined in a document with a _lot_ more weight than suggestions found in
> documents referenced from the document they are reading.
Over my years of working for/with Boeing, Halliburton/Sierra Geophysics,
Standard Insurance, Weyerhauser, Nike, Intel, Multnomah County in Oregon,
John Hancock, Harvard University, Stanford University, ExpressScripts, and
others, most of the competent software engineers I worked with made sure
they thoroughly understood what they needed to know, in order to do the job

And most were usually competent enough to a) click a link, and b) understand
the concept of a link leading to another reference.

> I intend to make no value judgements here, I'm merely describing what I've
> found to be true, repeatedly, over the years.
> I have no data to support this, and would in no way suggest that my
> experience is The Truth, or try to enforce my conclusions on other
> editors. However, I _do_ intend to take the above into account when
> writing the specs that I edit; I consider maximising the extent to which
> the document is an effective tool for getting quality implementations to
> be part of the responsibility of writing a spec.
Probably effective for documenting your own personal projects, not
necessarily so when you have to write a spec that's important to more than
one community.

You might want to consider that other people bring other experiences into
the work, all of which makes for a comprehensive, and robust specification.

> > it would seem to me that a link to a reference is like the many
> > thousands of links that the spec already contains, it may be that the
> > phrasing of the link text can affect the likelyhood of a person to
> > follow the link.
> As far as I am aware, the only links from the WHATWG complete.html spec to
> other specs are links to specs that are required to be implemented because
> they form the substrate on which HTML and its APIs are built, such that
> the implementors _cannot_ skip them even if they are tempted to.
> > This infomation is meant for browser developers is it not?
> Yes.
> > If they are not interested in making their browsers provide more
> > accessible content, it does not matter how much content you put in the
> > html5 spec, they can easily skip over it.
> In practice in my experience most implementors are in principle in favour
> of making their implementations accessible, but on average they are more
> likely to do the right thing when they find the information right there in
> the prose they are having to read anyway, than if it is "conveniently out
> of sight".
Then the browser developers you describe are not what I consider to be
competent software engineers. Lazy, comes to mind.

(And no, I don't think browser developers are incompetent, or lazy.)

> As the adage goes, "out of sight, out of mind".
Really. I can honestly say that adage does _no_t describe the competent
software engineers I have had the pleasure to know, and work with.

> > If they ar interested it would be better, i think, to point them to a
> > document that provides comprehensive advice on how to do so.
> We do provide a link to UAAG. However, if there is advice in the UAAG spec
> that you think implementors should follow here, then the best way we can
> ensure that it is followed is, IMHO, to also include it in HTML. Is there
> something I've omitted that UAAG recommends of relevance here?
> --
> Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL

Received on Sunday, 7 February 2010 14:59:21 UTC

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