XML News from Saturday, October 6, 2007

The W3C HTML working group has posted the second public working draft of XHTML Role Attribute Module.

The role attribute takes as its value one or more whitespace separated CURIEs. Any non-qualified value MUST be interpreted in the XHTML namespace, and MUST be taken from the list defined in this section.

The attribute describes the role(s) the current element plays in the context of the document. This can be used, for example, by applications and assistive technologies to determine the purpose of an element. This could allow a user to make informed decisions on which actions may be taken on an element and activate the selected action in a device independent way. It could also be used as a mechanism for annotating portions of a document in a domain specific way (e.g., a legal term taxonomy).

This example is informative
<ul role="navigation wai:sitemap">
    <li href="downloads">Downloads</li>
    <li href="docs">Documentation</li>

    <li href="news">News</li>

Authors may use the following standard roles, listed here with their conventional interpretations. They are intended to define regions of the document to help orient the user.

A banner is usually defined as the advertisement at the top of a web page. The banner content typically contains the site or company logo and other key advertisements for the site.
This is information about the content on the page. For example, footnotes, copyrights, links to privacy statements, etc. would belong here.
The contents of the associated element represent a definition (e.g., of a term or concept). If there is a dfn element within the contents (as defined in [XHTMLMOD]), then that represents the term being defined.
This defines the main content of a document.
This is a collection of links suitable for use when navigating the document or related documents.
The content is parenthetic or ancillary to the main content of the resource.
This is the search section of a web document. This is typically a form used to submit search requests about the site or a more general Internet wide search service.
This is any unique section of the document. In the case of a portal, this may include but not be limited to: show times; current weather; or stocks to watch.
Indicates that the element contains content that is related to the main content of the page.

You can add other values for this attribute by placing the values in a namespace. (Haven't we learned yet that namespaced attribute values are a bad idea?)