RE: Property suggestions

On Tue, 20 Oct 1998, Braden N. McDaniel wrote:
>> I would not use "tooltip" (to present a tooltip over the element)
>> as a pseudo-element, as it has been suggested, but create it as a
>> new property. I also suggest a property "status" whose content is
>> displayed in the status line of the browser, and which takes
>> exactly the same values.
> The problem I have with these kinds of things is that they operate
> *outside* the context of the page formatting and layout. 
With all due respect, Braden, you've missed the point. ;-)

The _content_ is in the document, in the TITLE, CITE, DATETIME,
SUMMARY, etc, attributes.

But in XML, there is no way to tell the UA _which_ attributes contain
_what_! So what would an XML UA put in the tooltip?

*That* is what the "tooltip" and "status" properties would be useful
for. Sure, they can be _abused_ -- but so can CSS2 generated content
and CSS1's display:none. (How? You can use it to spam search engines
without affecting your page's layout).

> Thus, I don't think they're appropriate additions to a page layout
> language. The larger problem is that you're using style sheets for
> *content*. The content belongs in the document. We started down this
> slippery slope with generated content in CSS2; it is a very
> easily-abused feature. Generated content should only be used for
> content that has a superficial role and is non-essential.
Would you say that CSS2's table display properties were

> What you describe would be more appropriate as attributes on
> elements in the markup itself. I'd suggest you bring this up as an
> idea for HTML 5.

It's already _in_ HTML and XML, as you point out: for example, the
TITLE attribute. The problem is in getting the content out of the
document and into the right interface elements, in this case the

For example, take the <A> element of HTML (but assume we are talking
about XML!). Presumably the UA knows that it is a link because of the
X-Link spec, and knows that the HREF attribute is the target uri.
However, how does it know what to do with the "title" attribute? What
about the "type" attribute? This is what these properties would aim to

Take the examples:
>> * { tooltip:attr(title) }
This is the current behaviour of IE4.

>> a[href] { status:"Link to " attr(href) }
This is similar to the behaviour of IE4 too, but allows for site by
site customization (pretty much a requirement with XML, as discussed

>> blockquote,q[cite] { status:"Quotation from " attr(cite) }
A distinct improvement on IE4, and one which with this property we
would not have to worry about MS not implementing.

Ian Hickson

Received on Tuesday, 20 October 1998 15:18:06 UTC