[uf-discuss] An Inconvenient hCard
pmw57 at xtra.co.nz
Tue Mar 13 10:58:35 PST 2007
Tim White wrote:
>----- Original Message ----
>On 3/12/07, James Craig <jcraig at apple.com> wrote:
>>Paul Wilkins wrote:
>>>With the abbr design pattern, you encode the machine-readable info
>>>around the human-readable words.
>>><p class="tel"><abbr class="type" title="fax">Téléc</abbr>: <span
>>This is a misuse of abbr at best.
>>See: open issue! 2007-01-26
>>Okay, so what does a guy do in a case like this then?
>What about something along the lines of:
><p class="tel"><span class="type" title="fax">Telec</span>: <span class="value">(514) 123-4568</span></p>
>Title is a valid HTML attribute and this avoids abusing the <abbr>.
The possibility of using the title attribute to hold generic machine
readable information was considered and rejected.
The title attribute is already commonly used on many elements today. If
people were to add a microformat to their page, they would have to
remove all title attributed content except for that which they
specifically intended to be the machine readable information. This then
becomes an abuse of the title attribute and as such is not allowed.
Another reason for discarding the idea was that it makes it too easy for
people then to hide information. If someone is not willing to make the
information available in plain text, then that information shouldn't be
used.This is why we people shouldn't be encouraged to store information
invisibly because that just leads to bad things.
Restricting the title attribute for microformatted information to just
the abbr element itself was considered and allowed, because that element
at least, is purpose built to show a different representation of the
information within it, and that's why it's become so useful with dates
and other content, to allow human readable content with a machine
When it comes to languages other than English though, this is where
things get tricky, and is covered in the FAQ at
Effectively, the language barrier is a pre-existing unsolved problem.
While it's fine for class names to be represented in English, what
happens when the readable content is used as keyword data. We are left
with one of two options. Either the readable data needs to remain as
English, or some other way needs to be found to provide a representation
of that non-english data in an english form.
Currently there hasn't been a more appropriate answer to this than the
abbr design pattern, and it is possible to justify. The computer is able
to understand only a very small number of terms, and each of those terms
can be expressed in a wide number of human readable formats. So what
we're doing with the abbr design pattern is to take one of these vast
number of human readable formats and abbreviate all of those
possibilities down to one common computer understandable term.
<abbr class="type" title="fax">Téléc</span>:
The only viable alternatives are either to spell it out in full,
Téléc (<span class="type">Fax</span>):
Or to hide the english form of the word
Téléc <span lang="en" style="display: none;" class="type">Fax</span>:
This is one of those situations where whateveryou do, you're guilty of
Paul Mark Wilkins
New Zealand Tourism Online
pmw57 at xtra.co.nz <mailto:pmw57 at xtra.co.nz>
109 Tuam Street
+64 3 963 5039
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