W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html-comments@w3.org > April 2012

Re: HTML5 Paragraphs, Sentences and Phrases

From: Thomas A. Fine <fine@head.cfa.harvard.edu>
Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2012 11:41:33 -0400 (EDT)
To: public-html-comments@w3.org
Message-Id: <20120413154134.015D6D9CF57@bugs.localhost>

For 800 years, people set type by hand, and during that time they could
choose to format sentences as separate elements (by adding extra space),
and most typesetters in fact chose to do that.

So what's absurd is that with all of our wondrous modern technologies,
authors today still do not have this most basic of abilities in any
usable form.  We can do 100 amazing things that typesetters could not
but we still can't handle the most fundamental typesetting task that
was routine to a typesetter.

Imagine if we were designing HTML for a traditional typesetter.
The two most important tags would be a paragraph tag and a sentence
tag.  The majority of traditional typesetting could have been
accomplished with only these two tags.  This is why the lack of
a sentence tag is absurd.

Semantic tags are a problem?  Well we already had "paragraph".  But
HTML5 adds "header", "footer", "section", "figure", "aside", "article",
and others.  Again, the absurdity here is to provide all of these tags,
and yet offer no clear standardized way to tag the most fundamental
and most common element.  Especially since a sentence is BOTH a semantic
element AND (traditionally) an element with particular styling needs.

And what exactly is the harm in adding a tag that many people might
not use?  The days when HTML can simply address the basic common
case are long gone, folks.  HTML is arguably the most popular form
of one-to-many written communication in use today.  It needs to fill
that role, and serve the diverse needs of its large audience and many

Received on Friday, 13 April 2012 15:42:08 UTC

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