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Re: [html] Elements within "title"?

From: Harry Maugans <hmaugans@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2007 17:27:07 -0500
Message-ID: <e74da3890702281427s2731b6a0v962a64a244e39da@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Nicholas Shanks" <contact@nickshanks.com>
Cc: www-html@w3.org, "Paul Nelson (ATC)" <paulnel@winse.microsoft.com>
I tend to agree with Paul's skeptic undertone.  First let's step back and
ask what is the purpose of the title tag?

It's used more-or-less as an identifying name for the website, in favorites,
search engines, tabs of a browser window, etc.

Now, what would happen if HTML were introduced into that tag?  Every single
application of the title tag would ignore the HTML, rendering the entire
introduction useless.  Search engines would definitely strip the HTML out,
as they wouldn't want users to break the design or layout of their website
(with red h1 tags or what-not).  Browser bookmarks would most definitely
strip HTML, as 1) using their internal HTML engine to parse a drop-down menu
would add nearly twice the overhead to the web browser itself, which would
have a minimalistic effect with the speed of today's computers, however it
would add bloat never-the-less (small things like that add up), but more
importantly - 2) when you click your drop down and see a listing of
bookmarks, it'll be a jumbled mess of random HTML tags thrown together, with
every website trying to stand out above the others, trying to attract the
user's attention.  The plain-text keeps it simple and uniform, allowing you
to choose the website you want to view, without the flashy ad-like title
tags that are sure to ensue.  The next application for title tags are in
browser titlebars.  Now, a lot of people use themes in Windows, where they
might change the font, weight, size, or color of all their window titlebars
to match their personal aesthetic preferences.  If you're using IE7 or
Firefox, with multiple tab support, and every tab has a different font
style, size, or color... that'd quite frankly be ugly.  Certain aspects of
the computing experiences need to remain uniform, otherwise I feel it'd be
decremental to the overall experience.

That said, almost every application of the title tags would most likely
opt-out of display the HTML, and instead continue rendering them as they
have all along, so what's the point?  Granted you could water it down,
allowing <em> but not the H1/H2/H3 tags, but then that would, in my opinion,
stray even farther from the best practices of a standard.

I think it was a valid suggestion and a good discussion, but I don't see any
positive effects from an actual implementation of this.

Best regards,

- Harry Maugans

On 2/28/07, Nicholas Shanks <contact@nickshanks.com> wrote:
> On 28 Feb 2007, at 21:10, Paul Nelson (ATC) wrote:
> > Let's consider real use cases. Where is the <title> element of the
> > HTML
> > document rendered?
> Here's a few. Often what is more constraining is how much horizontal
> space is available, and whether or not the line can wrap.
> I am only considering a few usage cases here, but lets not forget
> HTML is used in many other places too.
> Web browser UI:
> Favourites toolbar (5-10 chars)
> Tab bar tab (~15 chars)
> Item in Window/contextual menus (try to keep under 30 chars)
> Window titlebar, saved file names (can be 50 or so chars fairly
> comfortably)
> Dialog boxes, server certificates, desktop clippings, etc. (can be
> any length and display most elements)
> Search results web page:
> Any length would do, and can display many elements.
> > From my experience, the title is normally rendered in places that have
> > very limited constraints. Does the <title> element really need to be
> > styled?
> We're not talking about so much about style (i.e. CSS-like behaviour)
> as structure.
> In the cases I cited, language changes and science, yes it is
> important. Whether or not the limitations of one or more rendering
> platforms preclude them from displaying that structure is not HTML's
> problem, frankly.
> > It would be great for people to give some scenarios based on where UAs
> > might benefit from styling the <title>.
> Anything that deals with chemical formulae, mathematics, minor planet
> designations, and a slew of other topics really need to use super and
> subscript to avoid much lengthier circumlocutions. You might have
> been able to get away with rendering it incorrectly [e.g. as "(C4NH3)
> n"] for a few years, but people demand more intelligence from their
> operating system and applications these days.
> Perhaps an allowable subset of elements can be created, excluding
> <meta>, <table>, <a>, and others. <br> could be considered a hint for
> interfaces able to display the title on multiple lines, and
> interpreted as whitespace otherwise.
> I hope this helps you.
> - Nicholas.

-Harry Maugans
Received on Wednesday, 28 February 2007 22:27:21 UTC

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