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DIALOG v. DL??

From: Emma Pratt <Emma.Pratt@bbc.co.uk>
Date: Fri, 21 Aug 2009 17:03:34 +0100
Message-ID: <EA4F28019C0E9D4CAB01C299C1C5D41D09CE0EC0@bbcxues10.national.core.bbc.co.uk>
To: <public-html-comments@w3.org>
Someone recently pointed out the <dialog> element, which is part of the
current HTML5 specification.  I understand the usefulness of elements
that can mark-up a conversation thread, but doesn't corrupting <dl> just
further muddy things?

I'm aware definition lists were rather loosely specified in HTML4, which
has lead to all sorts of debate on their usage among developers, but
wouldn't it be better to have a more generic way of coding a list of
associated items rather than a multitude of context specific elements?

During our recent discussion, someone suggested having an association
list.  This could handle glossaries, dialog, and a whole range of other
types of association... although I don't think such lists should replace
a sensible heading structure, just as definition lists shouldn't have.

Here are some potential examples (using association list - al, list item
- li, association term - at, association data - ad):

<h2>Coder's Glossary</h2>
<al>
 <li>
  <at>HTML</at>
  <ad>Hyper-Text Markup Language</ad>
  <ad>predominent markup language for web pages</ad>
 </li>
 <li>
  <at>element</at>
  <at>tag</at>
  <ad>basic components for code markup</ad>
 </li>
</al>

<h2>Conversation</h2>
<al>
 <li>
  <at>Emma</at>
  <ad>Why didn't you specify an association list?</ad>
 </li>
 <li>
  <at>W3.org</at>
  <at>...</ad>
 </li>
</al>

<h2>Weekly Weath Forecast</h2>
<al>
 <li>
  <at>Monday</at>
  <ad><img />Sunshine</ad>
 </li>
 <li>
  <at>Tuesday</at>
  <ad><img />Sunshine</ad>
 </li>
 <li>
  <at>Wednesday</at>
  <ad><img />Sunshine</ad>
 </li>
 <li>
  <at>Thursday</at>
  <ad><img />Sunshine</ad>
 </li>
 <li>
  <at>Friday</at>
  <ad><img />Sunshine</ad>
 </li>
</al>

Anyhow, thought it was worth sharing these thoughts before HTML5 is set
in stone,
Emma

PS. While these views are shared by many of my colleagues, they are my
personal opinion.

_____________________
Emma Pratt
Senior Client Side Developer

BBC Future Media & Technology
Vision (Learning)
MC3 A1, Media Centre




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Received on Monday, 24 August 2009 07:15:27 GMT

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