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Re: proposal for ISSUE-191: replace ins and del elements by an attibute-based solution

From: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>
Date: Tue, 28 Feb 2012 13:55:28 -0500
Message-ID: <4F4D2320.4090201@intertwingly.net>
To: Daniel Glazman <daniel.glazman@disruptive-innovations.com>
CC: "public-html@w3.org" <public-html@w3.org>
This proposal has a number of problems that need to be addressed before 
the chairs will accept it.

For starters, it doesn't contain the required sections:


Additionally, it is missing essential details (example: "whatever is the 
way to do it").  Finally it is missing rationale for some of the changes 
(example: @reviewer attribute or the 'reviewed' or 'to-be-reviewed' 
states of the @change attribute).

- Sam Ruby

On 01/20/2012 10:02 AM, Daniel Glazman wrote:
> Here is the proposal:
> ------------
> It is well known among wysiwyg authoring tool implementors since the
> end of 80's (I insist: 80's) that an element-based solution for
> insertion and deletion is not enough. In the case of a content model
> not allowing these elements (think ol/ul in html for instance), using
> elements here require the use of the old mechanism of sgml inclusions.
> One might object that not having <ul><del><li>foo</li></del></ul>
> is not a problem but in fact it is. It is important to be able to
> declare the whole list item has been deleted - and became non-editable -
> instead of deleting its content and preserving the possibility to place
> a caret before or after the <del> but still inside the <li>.
> Implementors worked around the problem using proprietary attributes (for
> instance versions of MS Word based on XML) or paired processing
> instructions (various SGML/XML-based editors) to mimic the behaviour of
> a text-only editor.
> HTML4 introduced the <ins> and <del> elements and these elements survive
> in html5. The original diagnosis still stand: the <ins> and <del>
> elements cannot cover all the cases needed by the industry and represent
> a viable solution only in source editing mode.
> -----------
> It is proposed to "deprecate" the ins and del elements, whatever is the
> way to do it and switch to an attribute-based solution known to be able
> to handle all cases, for both source editing and wysiwyg editing.
> - @change attribute
> value: [ 'inserted' | 'deleted' ] [ 'reviewed' || 'to-be-reviewed' ]?
> the inserted value means the element and its contents were added to
> the original document
> the deleted value means the element and its contents were deleted
> from the original document
> the optional and exclusive reviewed and to-be-reviewed values mean
> the insertion and deletion have to be reviewed; the reviewer is
> described in human readable form by the contents of the @reviewer
> attribute
> - @reviewer attribute
> value: Text
> an arbitrary value meaningful only when the change attribute
> contains the reviewed or to-be-reviewed value and meant to be
> displayed for human consumption ; can be for instance a name, a
> mail, a twitter id, etc.
> - the @cite as currently defined in the html5 spec on ins and del
> elements
> - the @datetime as currently defined in the html5 spec on ins and del
> elements
> With such a proposal the bogus case described in the diagnosis above
> <ul><del><li>foo</li></del></ul>
> becomes the valid <ul><li change="deleted">foo</li></ul>.
> Deleting a simple chunk of text 'foo' inside for instance
> <p>foo bar</p>
> requires the insertion of for instance a <span>. But it already required
> the insertion of a <del> element, so there is no extra cost here.
> The conceptual model of insertions and deletions in html is not
> changed and the new model allows source editing AND
> solves the issues raised by ins and del in wiswyg environments.
> The 'reviewed' and 'to-be-reviewed' values of @change and the associate
> @reviewer attribute allow to establish a minimal workflow of changes in
> a collaborative environment.
> This solution or a very similar one is already implemented by multiple
> vendors of the editing industry, including Microsoft, in editors based
> on markup. It is simple to implement. It's trivial to implement for
> browser vendors since it's only a question of UA stylesheet and no
> specific browser-based behaviour is expected.
> The proposal solves a 15 years old problem. Vendors stopped complaining
> about it in the past mostly because the XHTML2 WG refused at that time
> to deal with HTML4 errata. The absence of visible feedback in 2012 does
> not mean the problem does not still stand. I think the proposed solution
> is so simple it's worth seriously considering it.
> </Daniel>
Received on Tuesday, 28 February 2012 18:55:56 UTC

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