Re: Internationalization Core comments on XHTML2

* Richard Ishida wrote:
>Please find the comments of the i18n Core WG on XHTML2 at 

Part of that is "We would like you to require the xml:lang attribute
on the <html> tag." I hope you can elaborate on this point a bit. It
is clear from the request that the Working Group would like all XHTML
2.0 authors to properly specify language information, but it is not
clear to me how it would help to require the xml:lang attribute. This
seems similar to e.g. the alt attribute on the img element in HTML
4.01 which is required, too. Many authors do not use it and those who
do, often do not use it properly. It is even common that authoring
tools insert some default value that is often worse than omitting it.

It thus seems reasonable to expect that many XHTML 2.0 documents will
be invalid due to a missing xml:lang attribute or that the xml:lang
attribute has an improper value, e.g. because the authoring tool made
some assumptions that did not hold true (e.g., the english version of
an authoring tool running on an english version of the operating sys-
tem might assume that all documents are written in english and thus
declare xml:lang="en" unless the author specifies a different value.)
Or authors just copy and paste the incomprehensible header required
for XHTML 2.0 documents without changing the xml:lang attribute. That
in fact happens already for XHTML 1.0.

Since authors, authoring tool developers, etc. do not currently give
proper language identification much thought, it seems the Working
Group expects quite some change in the XHTML community. I do not see
how this might be warranted, and it seems quite inconsistent with
other aspects of XHTML 2.0, for example, for images are no longer re-
quired to explicitly specify no alternate text (or alternate text.)

But I might be missing some research the Working Group has done on
this in which case I appreciate a pointer to the results.
Björn Höhrmann · ·
Weinh. Str. 22 · Telefon: +49(0)621/4309674 ·
68309 Mannheim · PGP Pub. KeyID: 0xA4357E78 · 

Received on Sunday, 6 March 2005 00:06:37 UTC