[whatwg] ARIA (was: Re: Thoughts on HTML 5)

Dave Hodder dmh at dmh.org.uk
Thu Feb 28 14:55:21 PST 2008

html at nczonline.net wrote:


> As for my suggestion of "reldata", my intent is to use the attribute for any type of data related to the element. The "role" attribute is intended to be used (from my understanding) to designate what role the element is playing on the page. This is not an appropriate place to put extra data that isn't necessary for the rendering or understanding of the element. My thought is doing something like this:
> <div id="whatever" reldata="{clicks:1,track:true}">
> The data format could be whatever someone wants, plain text, structured text, JSON...whatever you need. The point is to have a common place to dump extra but related data that isn't important to the understanding of the element. I often use custom attributes for this now, but it would be nice to have an official attribute for this purpose.

It sounds like the two attributes would be complementary, with role 
defining the tag as a "whateverwidget", and reldata describing the 
initial state and properties of the widget.

I don't know if you've seen the recent Accessible Rich Internet 
Applications <http://www.w3.org/TR/wai-aria/> draft?  (There's also a 
primer at <http://www.w3.org/TR/wai-aria-primer/>.)  It describes a 
number of standard states that can be added to custom controls.  Rather 
than potentially fitting multiple values into a reldata attribute, it 
defines a host of attributes beginning with "aria-".  Example:

     <span role="checkbox" aria-checked="true">Foo</span>

I believe a number of script libraries (Dojo for example) plan on 
supporting ARIA.  Firefox has some ARIA support already.

The current HTML 5 draft doesn't mention ARIA anywhere.  Perhaps it 
should clarify the relationship (or non-relationship as it is at 
present), even if it's only a brief mention in section 1.1.



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