[whatwg] Feeedback on <dfn>, <abbr>, and other elements related to cross-references
ian at hixie.ch
Wed Nov 26 14:20:29 PST 2008
On Wed, 23 Apr 2008, Jon Gibbins (dotjay) wrote:
> > >
> > > For example, take that both <abbr title="United States of
> > > America">USA</abbr> and <abbr title="United Space
> > > Alliance">USA</abbr> previously occurred in the document, and you
> > > *don't* want, as an author, for every future use of either term to
> > > be expanded by default (so will not provide titles for all
> > > occurrences). I then jump into the middle of a page from somewhere
> > > else and see "The USA's fleet of Space Shuttles are refurbished by
> > > USA, LLC." and wonder what's going on!
> > >
> > > There's no way to tell which is which without heuristical analysis
> > > of the language, so the UA can't auto-expand based on a single
> > > previous occurrence, which I think is the behaviour you were
> > > expecting by disallowing abbrs without titles and removing the
> > > referencing.
> > I didn't expect any autoexpading at all. Ever, even with <abbr>
> > present with a title="" attribute. Why would one want that? That would
> > be really annoying. We have acronyms and abbreviations for a reason --
> > to make things shorter! :-)
> People with learning disabilities, the elderly or people unfamiliar with
> certain jargon may prefer to have certain, or even all, abbreviations
> display in their expanded form by default. I know I can never remember
> what all the US state codes are, for example.
I still wouldn't expect title-free <abbr>s to expand by default, for the
very reason described above.
> > > a) Documents will either mark up every acronym with an <abbr title=…
> > > > tag—user agents that expand these by default (primarily aural as
> > > > I understand it) will appear very verbose—or,
> > User agents that expand abbreviations by default are poor, IMHO.
> There are certain options to expand abbreviations in place of the
> abbreviated form in both JAWS and Window-Eyes screen readers, but this
> is not default behaviour in either case.
That seems reasonable.
> > > b) Documents will only mark up the first occurrence. UAs that do not
> > > process subsequent occurrences of the abbreviation (currently all of
> > > them), will suffer from lack of definitions.
> > I don't follow this. Why would documents only mark up the first one?
> I think the confusion here is that current best practice is to only mark
> up the first abbreviation in a page with the expansion to avoid verbose
> output to users. To all intents and purposes, such advice should be
> ignored for reasons already identified to the list (i.e. you can't know
> a user's entry point into a document). However, it *could* be a
> preference in software to only expand the first occurence thus putting
> control back into the hands of the user. The problem that remains is how
> to disambiguate abbreviations that have more than one expanded form.
Authors should use the title="" attribute to include the expansion if they
want their pages to be clear.
> In my opinion, a more useful solution is to offer some form of
> infrastructure for glossaries where abbreviations can be uniquely
> identified to an expanded form. This would aid disambiguation and give
> control of rendering to users via their user agent.
I don't see why just having the title="" attribute isn't enough.
I've added a note to the spec that says that authors shouldn't expect a UA
to expand abbreviations just based on earlier <abbr> elements with the
Ian Hickson U+1047E )\._.,--....,'``. fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/ U+263A /, _.. \ _\ ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer. `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
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