[whatwg] Menus, fallback, and backwards compatibility: ideas wanted

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Fri Dec 30 16:51:05 PST 2005

On Tue, 20 Dec 2005, Alexey Feldgendler wrote:
> > 
> > It's less abstract as far as the authors are concerned, because to 
> > them there is a direct relationship between the document.write() and 
> > what they see on their screen, as opposed to an indirect one that 
> > depends on the UA implementor's idea of navigation.
> Yes! I think that's the point, that's why I skipped quotation of most 
> text above this.
> "Draw it by hand in the viewport" or "Let the browser show it to the 
> user". It's the same old story. Authors tend to describe every aspect of 
> visualization in their CSS. Why? Because different browsers have 
> different default rules, and the author wants the page to look the same 
> in all browsers. The author wants it so much that he would never trust 
> the browser to draw a menu without having full control about the fonts, 
> colors, sizes etc. And it would miss the entire point of having a site's 
> menu integrated into the browser's UI: the browser should show the 
> site's menu items just like it shows its own menu items, so they seem 
> intergrated. The browser's menu isn't an extension of the viewport.

It isn't clear to me that it is either possible or desirable to 
standardise a navigation mechanism for Web pages.

That isn't to say that we'll be removing the possibility to annotate link 
relationships in HTML5 -- quite the opposite. But I don't see what we can 
do in the spec that would improve matters for the user. Current 
implementations of browser-hosted site navigation are terrible (and I say 
this as someone who has been heavily involved in their development over 
the years). Until this problem is solved, I don't see any point in 
requiring UAs to implement such a mechanism (especially since UAs would 
just ignore the requirement anyway, making a farce of the specification).

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

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