Re: Counter change-proposal for ISSUE-4 (html-versioning) (vs. ISSUE-30 longdesc)

On Fri, Feb 26, 2010 at 9:03 PM, Larry Masinter <> wrote:
> In,
> David Singer <> wrote, in a discussion of ISSUE-30
> longdesc, with respect to accessibility laws, regulations and
> organizational policies which might refer to a particular HTML feature:
>> "More to the point, they [laws, regulations and policies] were
>> written with a particular version of HTML in mind and existence,
>> whether or not they remembered to say so.  The laws in question,
>> as I understand, were never intended to be prescriptive of what
>> standards-writers wrote, merely descriptive of what was in the
>> said standards (the laws are prescriptive in other respects,
>> of course).
>> When the HTML version changes, should they wish to adopt it
>> and prescribe how to use it, they are at liberty to do so."
> This raises the following question:
> What is a HTML version? Is there any way to distinguish one HTML
> version from another?

HTML 3 is defined here
HTML 4 is defined here
HTML 5 drafts are here

You can distinguish them by the title of the document :)

> What does "When the HTML version changes" mean ?

If I understand what David is trying to say, I would have phrased it
as "When a new version of HTML is released".

> How could someone write an 'accessibility regulation validator'
> if, as suggested, regulations might vary according to HTML version,
>  in the situation where HTML has no versions or version indicators?
> What happens if new accessibility methods are discovered in the future?

My suggestion is to always recommend the latest and greatest when it
comes to accessibility. So for example, once ARIA is released and
supported by enough browsers, I would recommend content authors to
start using it. Even if HTML 4 remains unchanged and is the latest
released version of HTML.

I would not recommend anyone to recommend different techniques for
different versions of HTML. Why *not* ARIA for all documents if that
is what results in the best accessibility for users.

> In particular, if there is a regulation for which:
>   * if "longdesc" is recommended for HTML4
>   * something else is recommended for HTML5
>   * later, for some future evolution of HTML
>     yet something else is recommended
>    (as new accessibility techniques evolve)
> \
> ... how could a validator tell if the document presented had been prepared
>    according to version-specific regulation, if there are no version
>    indicators?

I would make recommendations based on what results in the best
accessibility for users. Not based on what validators say. Validators
are just programs, they have no feelings, they won't get hurt ;-)

/ Jonas

Received on Saturday, 27 February 2010 05:52:52 UTC