[uf-discuss] Re: Precise Expansion Patterns

Paul Wilkins pmw57 at xtra.co.nz
Sat Dec 15 13:27:12 PST 2007

On Dec 16, 2007 8:00 AM, Manu Sporny <msporny at digitalbazaar.com> wrote:
> What was the problem with the SPAN approach, again?
> <span class="duration" title="PT3M23S">3:23</span>
> - You can set most, if not all, screen readers to not verbalize @title
>   in SPAN.
> - We're not abusing ABBR.

I've been looking carefully through the HTML 4.01 specs and realised
that there is no actual mechanism provided for what we are wanting to
achieve. This is why there has been so much debate about this and it's
why compromises will have to be made if we're to achieve our end

One of the things I came across is that the INS element accepts a
datetime attribute, but it has to be fully specified as a moment in
time. That might be useful for other applications like the calendar.

The A element is the other one that I came across. We appear to have
been completely ignoring this one, even though it looks to be a very
suitable candidate.
The specs say that it doesn't have to link to anything, and can
contain the class and title of what we require.
    "Authors may also create an A element that specifies no anchors,
i.e., that doesn't specify href, name, or id."

<a class="duration" title="PT3M23S">3:23</a>

And if you don't want the title to appear when you hover over the
text, you can leave the A element empty.

<a class="duration" title="PT3M23S"></a>3:23

In both situations the A element is not included in the tabbed flow of
the document, because there is no anchor involved.

With this technique we are able to embed machine-only information
around or near-to the human readable text.

Paul Wilkins

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