[whatwg] [web-apps] Titles in HTML

John Lewis gleemax at myrealbox.com
Sat Apr 16 15:01:16 PDT 2005

On Sat, 16 Apr 2005 15:08:58 -0400, fantasai  
<fantasai.lists at inkedblade.net> wrote:

> I agree that <q> has problems, particularly with en-US style punctuation.
> However, if the italics is going to be in the CSS, I think the quotation
> marks should also be there.

But the italic text needs* to be applied via CSS. The quotation marks  
could be written by the author. In plain text, for example, quotation  
marks are content, and italic text must be faked (_like this_ to represent  
underlining) or done without. In UAs that don't support CSS (or don't  
support it fully), written quotation marks will still work.

Keeping the quotation marks out of the CSS also passes the burden of  
language differences to the author. That means the quotation marks would  
need to be translated by hand instead of CSS, including when there is a  
quotation in a quotation, which changes the appearance of the inner  
quotation marks (at least in English). That isn't great, but it's not a  
critical problem.

* The only exception I could think of is something like
	<t><i>The Great Gatsby</i></t>
which isn't what I think you had in mind. I didn't consider that at all.  
It looks wrong to me, but maybe it is a possibility. The italics would be  
the author's responsibility (albeit in a weird way). We wouldn't need to  
give <t> any default rendering, so maybe it's not as bad as it seems. We  
could even redefine <q> (giving it a special meaning in a title),  
	<t><q>Eleanor Rigby</q></t>
The default <q> style wouldn't be a problem even if it was different than  
our desired song/article/whatever styling, since we could select just  
quotes in titles with descendant/child selectors (even by type).

Maybe that's a bad idea. I'm sure someone will tell me if it is.

> I'd like to note also that citations in languages other than English --
> in Chinese, for example -- are probably done differently. (This is why
> either all citation formatting should be the responsibility of the author
> or none of it should be.)

That is a good point. Maybe there could be language-specific behavior  
based on the lang attribute (or falling back to the UA default language if  
there is no language specified on the page).

One problem with making formatting the author's responsibility (instead of  
spelling it out in the spec or making it the UA's responsibility) is that  
when the author CSS is unavailable, or turned off by the user, there  
wouldn't be any formatting (absent a user style sheet with appropriate  
rules). That may be as bad as inappropriate formatting.

John Lewis

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