[whatwg] Web Forms 2.0 Feedback

Matthew Raymond mattraymond at earthlink.net
Sat Jan 8 22:51:36 PST 2005

Anne van Kesteren wrote:
>>Matthew Raymond wrote:
>>>In this situation "H two O" could potentially be pronounced
>>>"dihydrogen monoxide" or "water". Something like "green" has no
>>>such use, and <b> and <i> can at best be said to change the tone of
>>>pronunciation rather than what is actually said by the aural
> An aural, speech or whatever browser should not do such a thing unless 
> the author of document used ABBR, which is far more appropriate.

    In another part of this thread, we were talking about how there 
isn't  necessarily a standard for how to pronounce chemical formulas. I 
even suggested settings in aural browsers for the user's preferred 
pronunciation. Therefore, using <abbr> is suboptimal, as it forces the 
webmaster to choose a pronunciation while robbing the users of their own 

    Furthermore, an abbreviation is not necessarily expanded into their 
long form in aural browsers. For instance, when I write BU, I mean 
Boston University, so I might use <abbr> for that, but if I were to read 
it, I would say "B U" and not "Boston University".

    Also, even if I were to do this:

| <abbr lang="en" title="water">H2O</abbr>

    I might know that "H2O" is water, but do I know the molecular 
structure of water? Is it a hydrogen atom with two oxygen ions, or two 
hydrogen atoms and an oxygen atom. There is no way to know (in theory, 
since the molecular structure of water is common knowledge) unless you 
know if the "2" is subscript or not.

    Also note above that if you give a language, you are at the mercy of 
translation software as to whether the chemical name will be properly 
translated. So if your translator chokes on the name, you're screwed 
because there's no subscript information to use even if your browser 
chose to ignore the <abbr> tags and process their inside contents directly.

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