[whatwg] alt="" and the <meta name=generator> exception

Michael[tm] Smith mike at w3.org
Tue Aug 7 09:53:08 PDT 2012

Henri Sivonen <hsivonen at iki.fi>, 2012-08-05 15:52 +0300:

> While I agree with the sentiment the name of the attribute
> communicates, its length is enough of a problem to probably make it
> fail:
> 1) Like a namespace URL, it's too long to memorize correctly, so it's
> easier for the generator developer to type 'alt' than to copy and past
> the long attribute name from somewhere.

C'mon man. The generator developer adds the attribute name to his or her
code exactly once. In that scenario, what relevance does the length of the
attribute name have at all? It could just be some opaque string for all
they care.

> 2) It takes so many more bytes than alt="", so it's easy to shy away
> from using it on imagined efficiency grounds.

Only for pathologicals. I don't think the people who are obsessed with
efficiency to that degree actually develop tools that other people use.
I think people who do develop usefl tools generally understand that there
are a lot of tradeoffs, and efficiency doesn't trump everything else in the
decisions they make.

Anyway, do you have a concrete suggestion for an alternate name? I'm not
wedded to "generator-unable-to-provide-required-alt" and I doubt Hixie is
either. It's just a proposal that came up after 15 minutes of brainstorming
on IRC. That said, Hixie's already articulated the reasons behind the
choice of that name. Lacking any other proposed alternative, it's hard to
have any kind of productive discussion about the name.


Michael[tm] Smith http://people.w3.org/mike

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