[uf-discuss] RFC: sHTML Video Thumbnailing

Charles Iliya Krempeaux supercanadian at gmail.com
Mon May 28 13:46:30 PDT 2007

Hello Benjamin,

On 5/28/07, Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis <bhawkeslewis at googlemail.com> wrote:
> Charles Iliya Krempeaux wrote:
> >> This is a tempting argument, but in theory and practice a problematic
> >> one. <q> and <blockquote> are not merely intended to be "portions of a
> >> larger document" but to be /quotations/:
> >
> > True... but is the <abbr> element designed for the way Microformats do
> > dates?
> >
> > It seems like the same problem as that isn't it.
> >
> > And if we accept that screen readers can adapt to dates with the
> > <abbr> element, then why not accept that they can adapt to thumbnails
> > in a <q> element?
> But I /don't/ accept that. IMHO microformats currently abuse <abbr> and
> perhaps (more debatably) title for time and location, violating the
> standards-based credos of the movement with poor consequences for
> assistive technology which have already been widely discussed on the
> list.

Admittantly, I haven't gotten around to reading those threads yet :-(

Was there a consensus about a solution to the problem you are describing?

> And even if screen readers can eventually adapt to read ISO dates
> and geographical data as anything other than gibberish, their users will
> lag behind the times because mainstream screen readers are prohibitively
> expensive. On balance, I'd prefer innovators to depart from the HTML
> specification by introducing new attributes for new parsers with a
> custom DTD than to break HTML documents in existing user agents by
> abusing the semantics of old elements. (Not that a custom DTD would be a
> great idea either, just the lesser of two evils.)
> But at least the misuse of abbr for ISO time and location was useful for
> parsers, whereas this misuse (if we agree it is such) of <q> isn't.

I'd say I'm suggesting it be used in a way the designers of it
probably didn't imagine it would be used.  (It doesn't seem to violate
the HTML specification though.)

Having said that... there isn't a <thumbnail cite="..." src="...">
element... so what else can we do?

I want to add semantics somehow... but don't want to make
non-validating HTML (and just make up a new element... even though I'd
like to).

> >> I don't think "quote Dorothy encounters the Lion end quote" would be a
> >> human readable hint that it's a thumbnail from a video. Unless you
> >> happen to be a microformats guru. ;)
> >
> > What about what I mentioned above... about using alt text like...
> >
> >  alt="Thumbnail of Dorothy encountering the Lion"
> >
> > So that would read...
> >
> >  "quote Thumbnail of Dorothy encountering the Lion end quote"
> Well that's an improvement. But in that case what's actually
> communicating the semantic" is "Thumbnail of", not <q>. And "quote"
> still confuses the issue.
> Also, I think "Thumbnail of" will prove harder to internationalize than
> "Still:" or "Thumbnail:", which would mean parsers would struggle to get
> at the alternative text proper.

The <img> "alt" attribute doesn't really seem built for i18n.

Isn't i18n usually handled with completely different versions of the
same HTML page.

Which in that case would make the i18n for the sHTML Video
Thumbnailing suggestion I made a non-issue.

(I.e., there would be different version of the "alt" attribute for
each language supported (in each of those pages)... and it will be a
worded in a way that makes sense.)

But yeah... having "quote" read out does still seem undesired.

Aren't the aural style sheet or something that can be used to get rid of that?

See ya

> > Yeah... I'm actually using a "captioning" sHTML in a piece of software
> > that hasn't been made public yet.  (Perhaps I'll describe it on this
> > list later... and get it reviewed.)
> Cool.
> --
> Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis

    Charles Iliya Krempeaux, B.Sc.

    charles @ reptile.ca
    supercanadian @ gmail.com

    developer weblog: http://ChangeLog.ca/

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