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RE: "Pave The Cowpaths" Design Principle

From: John Foliot <foliot@wats.ca>
Date: Tue, 15 May 2007 12:36:16 -0700
To: "'Maciej Stachowiak'" <mjs@apple.com>, "'Gervase Markham'" <gerv@mozilla.org>
Cc: <public-html@w3.org>, <www-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <005701c79728$4f3ea4e0$688240ab@Piglet>

Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
> The principle is about author practices as found in existing content,
> not about what tools currently do with that content. However,
> contrary to your assertion, many microformats-based tools extract
> semantic information from class names in web pages.

While this is true, the date-time issue in microformats remains, with no
clear solution in place.  I asked Tantek about this personally, and there is
no answer: currently we can use a CSS workaround to hide the title attribute
information (most of the time), but that is not a very elegant solution.
This is probably the most telling of potential issues when it comes to
repurposing content; what assurances do we have that repurposing @class for
"semantics" will not cause any other unforeseen breakage?  The discussion
around class="copyright" must cause some concern. (It should!)

Let me pose another question: There seems to be this almighty driver out
there that says that the market knows best, yet most of the accessibility
advocates have always worked from the perspective that we must not stray
from published standards (standards are what makes things inter-operate) -
this is why we have no "in-the-wild" examples for the types of enhancements
we are seeking. If between now and the ratification of HTML5, a group of
individual content authors forged off on their own (similar to microformats)
and started to use something like @role for the type of semantic application
I have expressed (and I have a few emails of support for this already), and
started to get this out into the wild... Would this not then be a cow-path?
After all, Firefox is already giving some support to @role, and building a
Firefox extension that used this type of "micro-data" would be no less
difficult that the current crop of Firefox microformat extensions...

At what point is "adoption" considered a de facto solution?  If, for
example, a collective of major universities started to use this proposed
solution, would that suffice? If some government agencies also started to
use this construct, what then?  The numbers might be small, but the
significance of the content might over-ride the volume issue.  We need data
on this too - you want us to play your rules, your game, then spell it out:
we expect no less than an even playing field.

And if this type of talk seems to be sheer folly, perhaps you can understand
why we are in turmoil over current discussions.

Received on Tuesday, 15 May 2007 19:36:37 UTC

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