W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > whatwg@whatwg.org > December 2005

[whatwg] Menus, fallback, and backwards compatibility: ideas wanted

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Tue, 20 Dec 2005 01:21:32 +0000 (UTC)
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.62.0512200115310.17886@dhalsim.dreamhost.com>
On Thu, 15 Dec 2005, Sander Tekelenburg wrote:
> I can't follow that. (Btw, meta data doesn't have to be "visible", it 
> has to be *accessible*.) You seem to mean to say that there is something 
> wrong with LINK itself, while I think the problem is with 
> implementations in user-agents. The only reason LINK is not accessible 
> in IE and Safari is that those browsers don't make it accessible. If a 
> user-agent does't make the contents of HREF attributes accessible then 
> they're not accessible. Same thing.
> It seems to me that the user-agents "violate" the concept, not LINK 
> itself.

Fair point. However, if a technology fails to make any in-roads after ten 
years, especially in a market as fast-moving as the Web, there is probably 
a reason. I'm not sure what the reason is in the case of <link> (though I 
think mpt's description is probably a good guess).

> > I think the fact that <a> supports rel="" gives us a way to drop 
> > <link> altogether, actually.
> I assume you're only referring to these "navigation" relationships - not 
> to LINKs to Style Sheets, or to alternate content: <LINK 
> href="http://matthias.gutfeldt.ch/translation/LINK/" rel="alternate" 
> hreflang="de" lang="de" title="Deutsch: Das Link Element.">


> > I think you're trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist.
> What doesn't exist about the problem I describe at 
> <http://www.euronet.nl/~tekelenb/WWW/LINK/>? It is quite real. It could 
> have been solved by LINK, but given that user-agents concentrated on 
> other things, by now it requires a solution that involves not having to 
> repeat the same navigational content.

I'm not convinced the problem you describe is real. For example, you say 
"Ask any WWW newbie; ask any experienced Web surfer; ask any Web site 
developer "what are the biggest problems with Web sites?" and chances are 
"navigation" will rank in their top 3." but have you actually tried this? 
In my experience navigation is one of the few aspects of the Web that 
newbies actually understand easily.

> For the moment I think I like your proposed HTML/CSS of:
> <nav style="display:meta">
> 	<menu type="commands" label="Navigation">
> 		<a rel="home" href="index.html">Home</a>
> 		<a rel="contents" href="toc.html">TOC</a>
> 		<a rel="help" href="help.html">Help</a>
> 		<a rel="search" href="search.html">Search</a>
> 		<a rel="address" href="address">Contact</a>
> 		<a rel="section" href="support.html">Support</a>
> 		<a rel="section" href="downloads.html">Downloads</a>
> 		<a rel="section" href="drivers.html">Drivers</a>
> 		<a rel="section" href="updates.html">Updates</a>
> 		<a rel="section" href="forms.html">Forms</a>
> 		<a rel="section" href="archive.html">Archive</a>
> 		<a rel="section" href="feedback.html">Feedback</a>
> 	</menu>
> </nav>

This could be interesting if (and it's a big if!) you could convince 
browsers to implement it.

I tried to get <link> reliably and widely implemented for around five 
years. I failed. I don't see why we would be more successful with 

> (Btw, a label="Navigation" probably isn't needed if this is already 
> embedded in <nav>.)

The label here is what makes the <menu> into a button.

> It would probably require either deprecating LINK (an idea I'm not fond 
> of) or specifying that when the document also contains <link rel="home" 
> blah> it should recognise that as repetition and should therefore render 
> this content only once. (Which might not be ideal either, as it might 
> slow down parsing.)

Anything that makes parsing slower simply won't be implemented. Browsers 
are continuously being told they are too slow already.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Monday, 19 December 2005 17:21:32 UTC

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