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Re: Seeking addresses for various W3 documents as plain text

From: Jamal Mazrui <empower@smart.net>
Date: Sun, 06 Dec 1998 23:56:47 +0400
Message-Id: <199812070356.WAA28656@gemini.smart.net>
To: <jasonw@ariel.ucs.unimelb.EDU.AU>
CC: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Good points!  I am reminded that plain text is not optimal for hard copy
braille or audio renderings.  I do maintain that plain text is superior for
universal accessibility over any other single format.  In addition, I submit
that this accessible format is also optimal for a lot of people, 
including folks like myself who like to read with our favorite 
reading utility, rather than a viewer that was 
not designed as a reading program for someone with a print disability.

I also see that a format with a markup language can offer more structured
navigation through a document.  Eventually, I hope to have an HTML viewer that
lets me navigate and edit text as easily as my favorite DOS tools (Talking
Directory and WordPerfect Editor).  Until this happens, however, I'll probably
continue to use this plain text based reading environment that I find highly
productive compared with other options of which I am aware.

With help from others on this list, I have been able to find most, though
not all, of the documents I was seeking in plain text.  I am still looking
for a complete, current version of the SMIL specification and the page
authoring guidelines.  I can produce these myself with a 
conversion utility, so am mentioning their abscence as a point of 
information, accounting for all the documents I was seeking.

As a plain text formatting suggestion, let me encourage the flowing of
paragraphs such that not more than 80 characters are output per line.  This
enables someone reading online to continuously scroll downward through the
text, without losing information on lines that were too long to display on
conventional 80 column text terminal dimensions.  Most of the plain text
documents I downloaded from the W3C had a maximum line length between 95 and
160 monospaced characters.  Again, this is a minor formatting issue, but one
I think is worth mentioning to anyone interested in producing high quality
plain text.

If anyone else interested in W3C/WAI issues would consider promoting
the development of a plain text recommended specification, let me 
know.  I think it would be a standard worthy of attention by the W3C 
and its constituencies.


On 1998-12-05 jasonw@ariel.ucs.unimelb.EDU.AU said:
   NASCII text versions of the HTML and CSS specifications (and
   Npresumably others) are available from their respective pages, as
   Ncompressed tar or zip files.
   NThe main disadvantage of ASCII text (with no markup) is that all of
   Nthe structural and semantic distinctions conveyed by the HTML are
   Nlost. It is therefore important to emphasize that plain text is
   Nonly minimally accessible. For instance, if one wished to produce a
   Nproperly formatted braille copy, it would be necessary to
   Nre-introduce the markup codes. Similarly, audio formatting software
   Nsuch as AsteR and Emacspeak/W3 require markup in order to produce
   Nan efficient rendering of the document that conveys the necessary
   Nconceptual distinctions and allows for structured navigation.
   NWhile I agree that some ASCII text documents can be read easily by a
   Ntraditional screen reader, it is important to be careful in
   Nensuring that

Net-Tamer V 1.11.1 - Registered
Received on Sunday, 6 December 1998 22:56:58 UTC

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