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[review feedback] Text direction and structural markup in HTML

From: Tomer Mahlin <TOMERM@il.ibm.com>
Date: Tue, 5 Mar 2013 06:56:05 +0200
To: <www-international@w3.org>
Cc: "Richard Ishida" <ishida@w3.org>
Message-ID: <OF8D49EE89.2687F599-ONC2257B25.001AFB33-42257B25.001B51CB@il.ibm.com>
Appologies for resending ....
These are consolidated comments from IBM Bidi Globalization Center of 
Competency on the document stored at:  

1. Section Setting direction at the document level
1.1. Subsection Working with browsers that change the browser chrome
1.1.1. What is said in this subsection, not only true for the main window, 
but also applies to widgets below the <body> element.

1.1.2. In Firefox, scrollbar position (either of the main window or 
particular widgets) can be controlled by layout.scrollbar.side 
configuration option:
layout.scrollbar.side=0 (default): The scrollbar is placed based on the 
global UI direction.
layout.scrollbar.side=1: The scrollbar is placed based on the widget 
layout.scrollbar.side=2: The scrollbar is placed on the right side of the 
layout.scrollbar.side=3: The scrollbar is placed on the left side of the 

As of HTML5, Firefox might need to split that into 2 preferences: one for 
the main window and another one for widgets below the body.

2. Section Section Setting direction on block elements
2.1. Subsection "Basic markup"
2.1.1. > "Use the dir attribute on a block element only when you need to 
change the base direction of content in that block. Do not use CSS (why) "
This statement is too categorical. I'd say something indicating that it is 
much preferable to use HTML markup, while CSS.is not recommended.

2.1.2. > "...the characters within each word displayed are still read in 
the same direction. (Their sequence is determined by the Unicode 
bidirectional algorithm, not by the dir attribute..."
That's a little confusing. Base level (indicated by the dir attribute) 
should not be brought out of the context of the "sequence is determined by 
the Unicode bidirectional algorithm".
The reason for preserving character order within each word is the 
following. The base level affects the overall progression of directional 
runs (and run number and contents too by the way), but not the order of 
characters within each run (formed by words with a strong directional 
content and/or words separators in the given example).
Also, instead of the phrase "read in the same direction" I'd suggest to 
use "appear in the same direction".

3. Section By the way
3.1. Subsection "Setting direction on forms explicitly"
3.1.1. > "Firefox: Direction is set using the CTRL+SHIFT+X keyboard 
Firefox 9 and higher also supports the traditional CTRL+SHIFT shortcut for 
setting base text direction in entry fields and textarea elements. Note it 
doesn't affect the direction of controls with the "auto" direction.

Best Regards,

Tomer Mahlin
GCoC Bidi architect
Bidi Development Lab

Phone: +972-2-6491784 | Mobile: +972-54-3368122 E-mail: tomerm@il.ibm.com

IBM R&D Labs
Malcha Technology Park
Jerusalem 96951

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Received on Tuesday, 5 March 2013 09:56:27 UTC

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