State and Status of WAI-ARIA approach to host-language embedding

** introduction

WAI-ARIA is an aspect or facet of web markup that
is not a standalone format but a module of
markup-practice-maintenance that is targeted to
be integrated into multiple host languages that
span the 'divide' between formats that assume
well-formed XML as a prerequisite or platform,
and HTML "as she is used in the wild" which means,
more or less, as processed with a lot of ad-hoc
recovery processing by browsers today.

The TAG has identified an issue termed
TagSoupIntegration-54 which deals with creating
composite documents and applications that blend
content from both sides of this 'divide.'

We of PFWG have requested that the TAG review
what we are doing in the area of host-language
insertion.  There are two reasons for this:
One, the TAG has done some thinking about the
above issue that will make them a good source
of review for our approach.

Two, we have wrestled with this issue in devising
our approach to host language insertion, and our
experience and conclusions may help the TAG in
coming to a more cogent statement of the issue
and an effective strategy for moving ahead in this
area.   Perhaps also in the larger issue of format
evolution and discipline in the presence of a
lot of markup unorthodoxy and informally-arrived-at
fixup practice. This message is an annotated bibliography
for TAG participants and Public contributors to www-tag
on the WAI-ARIA host-language insertion approach;
what it is today and how we got there.

** WAI-ARIA host-language insertion

The immediate statement of this approach is in
the section "5 Implementation in Host Languages"
of the WAI-ARIA specification,
which is available as a Working Draft at:

.. although some reading of the Conformance section
may be required to complete the picture for the
purpose of relating to the above-mentioned TAG issue.

A quick summary of our "when in Rome" or
"different syntax for the same effect"
approach is on the public record at

Some level of context is probably needed to appreciate
the reasons for taking this approach.  The overall
project context is given in several forms.

There is the W3C news announcement of the latest,
re-structured suite of documents:

The Best Practices, while rough at present, give
a Web Practitioner perspective which is important
for the "insertion in the Web as practiced today"
side of the comparison.

The Roadmap takes a technology assessment and
planning perspective.

The Primer gives the need for and approach of the
WAI-ARIA technology in a brief compass.

for TAG consumption I would also suggest that the
briefing to the 2006 Technical Plenary could be
a quick way to frame "what is WAI-ARIA, anyway?"
in a way that motivates architectural choices.

The W3C Process context for the above snapshot
of a work in progress is that PFWG considers these
TR drafts to be the last TR release before a Last
Call release, and the proposition that this is
a cross-host-language technology has been coordinated
through the Hypertext CG on a continuing basis, with
a public-record joint meeting at TPAC 2007.

/chair PFWG

Received on Monday, 25 February 2008 23:06:53 UTC