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RE: Skip links ARE a markup problem (was RE: Skip links should be a markup problem)

From: John Foliot - WATS.ca <foliot@wats.ca>
Date: Tue, 26 Apr 2005 19:40:43 -0400
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Cc: "'Bryce Fields'" <bryce.fields@gmail.com>
Message-ID: <00cf01c54ab9$5e305c40$6601a8c0@bosshog>

Bryce Fields wrote:
> And while IE
> and Firefox support for the [relative] link element isn't native, a very
> extension for Firefox exists, as well as an add-on for IE (though
> I've not tested the IE add-on). 

URL's please?

> The problem is, as you've alluded to earlier, how to leverage makers
> of assistive technology to implement this greatly-overlooked element,
> and to educate web developers that this technique exists.

Not so much the assistive technology, but rather the browsers themselves -
and sadly{bias}/most importantly Internet Explorer, which the major screen
reading applications use as their native browser.  It's true, we have a
chicken and egg scenario, which is why I believe that the W3C has to blink
first, to make the noise, to peak the curious, the early adopters, etc.
Right now it seems that nobody knows or cares.  If we can get the "knowing"
happening, then perhaps the other grassroots organizations can get the
caring happing...

> Apparently it doesn't have to involve hacking DTD's at all.  Here's a
> peak at the profile for the XFN (XHTML Friends Network) relative link
> types (http://gmpg.org/xfn/1) included in all current WordPress
> deployments.  That profile is marked up as a simple definition list.
> Personally I find the specs completely vague on profiles and see
> nothing to invalidate their approach, but that may just be my
> inexperience. 

Actually Bryce, after re-reading the spec as well, you are right, in theory.
Perhaps what I should have said is that it would be better that the W3C
specifically NAMED these relative links as part of the "recognized link
types" referenced in the human readable spec
(http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/types.html#type-links).  While they were at
it, they might also think to add the rel link types of "P3Pv1" and "EARL" as
well, as these are, uhm, W3C technologies which also require a similar
referencing scheme. 

(That the <link rel="P3Pv1" *works* now in Internet Explorer and Mozilla
[again, not Firefox - what gives?] is counter to the "official" spec as I
read it, as I am unaware of a profile which references the P3Pv1 "type" and
it is not on the list of "recognized" types either... Did something slip
through the cracks, or am I just too much of a standards dweeb?)

>> However, if the W3C made these minor changes to the DTD, and it
>> reached the media with sufficient "noise", then we could assume that
>> the message would go out to developers: start using these relative
>> links. 
> So what's to stop developers now, and making noise now?  What good
> reason is there that WASP (or a similarly-minded grass roots
> organization) doesn't latch onto this now?  We've had the means to
> identify semantically-meaningful pieces of our documents since HTML
> 4.01 emerged, it's just that we're only now recognizing it.

Nothing, but like everything else, it needs an initial "big bang noise" to
get rolling.  Sadly this list is but a spec in the grand scheme of things.
But if the W3C made an "official" announcement that they were tweaking the
XHTML 1 DTD (<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.2...> anybody?) to
address these (dare we call them needs?), well, that's the [potential] big
bang there.  If they gave us the ball, maybe, just maybe we could get enough
interested parties to run with it?

So (ahem), Judy Brewer, how do we do this eh?  Mr. Berners-Lee?  How do we
get this on the radar screen?

John Foliot  foliot@wats.ca
Web Accessibility Specialist / Co-founder of WATS.ca
Web Accessibility Testing and Services
Phone: 1-613-267-1983 / 1-866-932-4878 (North America) 
Received on Tuesday, 26 April 2005 23:40:58 UTC

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