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Re: HTML specs - can I whine for a minute?


From: Steve Green
Date: Aug 19, 2021 12:39PM

Let me join you in the whining. All the documentation relating to HTML5, WCAG and ARIA is a complete mess. The ambiguities, contradictions and omissions are bad enough, but there is no discernible information architecture either. It's nigh-on impossible to find out what the latest version of anything is, and in some cases there are multiple similar, but different, versions of documents, sometimes with the same version number. Some are in GitHub, which I am told take precedence over those on the W3C website, which is entirely non-intuitive.

Sometimes you just have to know that documents exist, because they don't seem to be discoverable.

Perhaps it all makes sense to the people who create and maintain the documentation, but makes no sense to some of us who dip in and out periodically.

Worse still, some are so-called "living documents", which can change in any way at any time, yet there doesn't appear to be any way for us to be notified of the changes. There doesn't even seem to be any version control or archiving for such documents, so you sometimes cannot find content you are certain used to exist. Or maybe there is and I just can't find it.

Fortunately, the Internet and accessibility are entirely unimportant, so none of this really matters.

Steve Green
Managing Director
Test Partners Ltd

-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum < <EMAIL REMOVED> > On Behalf Of glen walker
Sent: 19 August 2021 19:22
To: WebAIM Discussion List < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
Subject: [WebAIM] HTML specs - can I whine for a minute?

I used to use https://www.w3.org/TR/html53/ when I'd quote about html specs. I know that version was being phased out and how that page automatically redirects to https://html.spec.whatwg.org/

One of the nice things about the previous version of the spec was that it had accessibility information combined with all the other information.
There were two sections called "Allowed ARIA role attribute values" and "Allowed ARIA state and property attributes". Those two sections have been removed from the whatwg spec. Does anyone know if that's intentional or will they be brought back?

The new spec has an "Accessibility considerations" link but it points to a generic definition that makes you follow a link to "ARIAHTML" ( https://html.spec.whatwg.org/#refsARIAHTML), which is another generic section that points to "ARIA in HTML" (https://w3c.github.io/html-aria/),
which finally has some information in it, but you then have to search for the right html element. It's a lot of hunting for information that used to be all concise and grouped together.

For example, the <button> element, here's a link to the archived old spec:


It's easy to see the default role is "button" and the other roles that are applicable.

The new spec is


If you follow the accessibility links to the "ARIA in HTML" ( https://w3c.github.io/html-aria/), you still have to search for the button info on that page. It'd be nice if the whatwg doc pointed directly to https://w3c.github.io/html-aria/#el-button for the accessibility info.
It'd be even better if that info was all contained in one place for the button spec.