[whatwg] Web Forms 2.0 Feedback

dolphinling dolphinling at myrealbox.com
Sun Jan 9 19:08:00 PST 2005

Matthew Raymond wrote:
> 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
>>>> browser.
>> 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 
> preferences.
>    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".

My understanding of this is that the title attribute should be included 
if and only if the expanded version is meant to be read or printed out. 
In this case, you'd probably put the title on the first instance of BU 
on a page, so the person would hear/see it the first time and not have 
to later, when they already knew what it was.

(If you expect people to already know what it stands for, like if it's a 
blog about your experiences at BU, or if you're talking about HTML to 
people on this list, then it should probably be omitted. We don't need 
to be told what it means. I guess this was all kind of offtopic, but I 
like talking about <abbr>.)

>    Also, even if I were to do this:
> | <abbr lang="en" title="water">H2O</abbr>

This is bad. "H20" isn't an abbreviation of "water".

If it were <abbr title="dihydrogen monoxide">H20</abbr>, then it would 
be correct.

>    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.

No, there's no way to know which it is unless you have some semantic way 
of marking it up. "subscript" does not mean "this many of the atom 
before". A human can guess that, and a computer could be programmed to 
react that way, but it's still a presentational markup hack.

<http://dolphinling.net> coming soon…

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