Long Live the Q Tag

by Stacey Cordoni

107 Reader Comments

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  1. Jim Gibbins writes: “It’s a disservice to disabled people to not be practical about what we do. It’s frustrating that there aren’t effective solutions in place, whether it be because of limited support or a swiss-cheesed basis. “?

    But you keep saying that and it’s clearly not true. Why is that? I listed several solutions that I’m aware of and whether they are just aural browsers or screen readrs doesn’t matter. The point is the work correctly. Incidentally, you’re wrong about the screen reader issue too. VoiceOver aand EmacSpeark are also screen readers and they handle CSS aural / speech properties correctly.

    There are so many falsehoods in whay you’re saying I don’t know where to begin. Here’s a list of corrections.

    There are many effective alternative to JAWS than handle CSS and semantic markup correctly.
    Using W3C recommendatikons for semantic markup and aural / speech presentation are effective ways of raching the visually impaired.
    Firefox does expose aural properties in its’s DOM.

    You keep saying the opposite of all of this is completely false. And all of your advocacy agasint the visually impaired seems to be only due to a misguided attempt to justify Internet Explorer”˜s lack of standards support.

    What do you do in you’re spare time, steal Christmas?

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  2. Thanks Rob – another insightful and cogent post.

    I just wanted to point out – noone’s encouraging web authors to use unsemantic markup. Far from it. It’s just the semantic description of a quote may include the surrounding quotation marks. Equally, it may not – this depends on context and the quote in question.

    Some semantic markup languages (TEI-Lite, XHTML 2) give authors the flexibility to markup quotes in either fashion. HTML 4, unfortunately, does not and so workarounds are needed if the quote, semantically, includes quote marks and is enclosed by <q> tags.

    Hope that clears up that bit of confusion.

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  3. No, it doesn’t clear up the confusion. It adds to the confusion in the same way you’ve been doing all along. In all practical terms, HTML 4 (1999) along with CSS 2 (from 1998) does allow flexibility with semantic markiup (just like the proposed XHTML 2 draft). IE does not provide this flexibility.

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  4. Rob, I think you are missing the point.

    My personal opinion is that quotation marks should not be added by the browser as is required by the W3C recommendations, and that their addition by browsers rather than the author of the content could in fact be to the detriment of accessibility. Besides, to my mind, quotation marks are part of the content and not presentational information to be left to CSS.

    Yes, it is unfortunate that Internet Explorer doesn’t support certain things, but that wasn’t the focus of what I have been saying. And I am not trying to justify anything about Internet Explorer. The point I rasied was about whether or not control over punctuation should be with the browser at all. The fact that browsers (except IE) allow you to control the delimiting quotation marks that they add via CSS is pretty much irrelevant to that discussion. If you turn off CSS, the browser’s default styles will still be active and the delimiting quotation marks they add will still be there. CSS rules you add will not fix the fact that the browser has control over your punctuation – your content.

    And for the record, I find it unfortunate that you have felt it necessary to descend into rudeness – I will not waste my time replying to you if it continues. If you have a point, I suggest that you collect your ideas into a coherent post before hitting the submit button.

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  5. Another option: leave the good browsers’ generated content alone (cool idea though), and hack IE.

    [removed]
    function fixquotes(e)
    {
      if (e[removed].substring(0,1).search(/”/) -1) e[removed] = ‘“’ + e[removed];
      if (e[removed].substring(e[removed].length-1,e[removed].length).search(/”/) -1) e[removed] = e[removed] + ‘“’;
    }
    [removed]
    <style type=“text/css”>
    q {fixquotes:[removed]fixquotes(this));}
    </style>

    …Good for developers who are in those jobs with high-paying corporate clients, but want to stay as close to semantics as possible.

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  6. Hence only IE support it.

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  7. I tend to use straight quotes instead of using css to needlessly complexify your content to that degree. I’m sure that has been said by others in all of these pages of comments.

    It may offend one’s web 2.0/css sensitivities, but it’s easy, simple, and takes no time to do a search-replace.

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