[whatwg] Resurrection of HTML+'s <image>

Anne van Kesteren annevk at opera.com
Wed Mar 21 03:18:48 PDT 2007

On Wed, 21 Mar 2007 10:55:37 +0100, Nicholas Shanks  
<contact at nickshanks.com> wrote:
> I would hardly call allowing marked-up fallback rather than the
> crappy "alt text" we currently have as 'almost zero benefit'. How
> about we bring accessibility into the 21st century instead?

You hardly ever went to say more than a few words anyway. I agree that it  
would've been nicer if it had fallback content instead, but trying to fix  
it now isn't worth much I think.

> I guess we have to agree to disagree here, but I think
> <image src="foo">Download Foo 1.4<br><small>(12 <abbr
> title="Megabytes">MB<abbr>)</small></image>
> is preferable to
> <img src="foo" alt="Download Foo 1.4 (12 MB)">
> which it would appear you prefer.

Yeah. An abbreviation such as MB should be known by an accessibility  
client anyway and I think it's also perfectly capable of dealing with a  
few parenthesis. Besides, the latter has been standard practice for over a  
decade and trying to change authoring habbits with respect to that now  
seems silly. Besides, you can use <object> if you really care about  
"proper" fallback.

>> Also what you're suggesting about strict is wrong and I'm not sure
>> where you got that from. The <plaintext> start tag for instance
>> works the same everywhere and it's not part of either the HTML4 or
>> the XHTML1 as text/html specification.
> Well it ought not to work. Any elements not part of the specification
> that the author declares should be ignored for forward compatibility
> reasons, as has been specified by HTML since the beginning. (It might
> be a MUST rather than a SHOULD, but I'm not sure.) This principal
> *has* to be enforced in strict mode otherwise we hinder forward-
> compatibility like this.

Well, sure. But elements that are already supported can't suddenly be  
dropped (on the user agent side) in new versions. That would complicate  
things way too much. User agents will always have to support everything  
that's being used and doing that based on DOCTYPE sniffing (which  
essentially implies versioning) is a rathole where you'd rather not go.

Anne van Kesteren

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