Re: Last Call: draft-snell-atompub-bidi (Atom Bidirectional Attribute) to Experimental RFC

James M Snell <> Tue, 22 April 2008 17:18 UTC

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Date: Tue, 22 Apr 2008 10:16:53 -0700
From: James M Snell <>
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To: Frank Ellermann <>
Subject: Re: Last Call: draft-snell-atompub-bidi (Atom Bidirectional Attribute) to Experimental RFC
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I have had a number of conversations with i18n experts on the topic and 
none have complained about it thus far... which, of course, doesn't mean 
that much.  I would very much appreciate having folks like Harald, 
Martin and Tex weigh in on the issue.

Another comment that has come up is a question about why we can't just 
use the W3C ITS spec for this, which is definitely a valid question.  I 
would definitely appreciate feedback on that issue as well.

When it comes to the rendering of feeds in a UI, dir="" is likely not to 
have any significant effect since, as you and others have pointed out, 
(x)html has no similar notion and a direction has to be assumed.  The 
main point of dir="" is to ensure that the original directional context 
of an entry is preserved regardless of the specific feed that happens to 
contain the entry.

- James

Frank Ellermann wrote:
> James M Snell wrote:
>> My apologies for not getting back to this sooner.
> No problem, it's only that the proposal to "rename" 
> the draft attracted my attention, and after I said
> that this is dubious in a "Last Call" thread I read
> the text, not only the file name... ;-)
> All I know about BiDi issues could be summarized as
> "if Harald / Martin / Tex / ... think it works it's
> supposed to work".  But the acknowledgements in your
> draft did not mention anybody I know as BiDi-expert,
> that was the point when I started to worry about it.
> Apparently 'dir' is strictly binary, "LTR" or "RTL",
> and your draft adds a third value "".  Maybe this is
> a good idea.  Or it is a case of "ternary bits", I
> can't judge it.
> Possibly you could convince me that it's a good idea
> by giving an example where dir="ltr" and dir="" make
> a difference, and/or by stating that dir="" MUST NOT
> be used within the (X)HTML parts of an Atom document,
> but actually that's beside the point.  What's really
> interesting, did any BiDi expert confirm dir="" as a
> good idea ?  If dir="" is a part of the experiment -
> fine, let's see what happens.
>  Frank
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