W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > August 2007

Re: Semantics (was : Formal Recorded Complaint)

From: Robert Burns <rob@robburns.com>
Date: Mon, 6 Aug 2007 12:38:00 -0500
Message-Id: <C8F08D3E-6FC9-40FE-A578-5313B876CFD6@robburns.com>
Cc: "HTML WG" <public-html@w3.org>
To: liorean <liorean@gmail.com>

Hi liorean,

On Aug 6, 2007, at 12:25 PM, liorean wrote:

> On 06/08/07, Philip Taylor (Webmaster) <P.Taylor@rhul.ac.uk> wrote:
>> Leif Halvard Silli wrote:
>>
>>> This argument here doesn't solve «real problems».
>>> We are all in favour of accessibility. And we []
>>> are also all against semantics for the sake of semantics.
>>
>> No we're not.  Some of us (myself included) believe that
>> semantics for semantics [sake] is fundamental to high-
>> quality markup.
>
> I think people have a slightly different view on the meaning of
> "semantics for the sake of semantics". The way I read that, "semantics
> for the sake of semantics" is including semantics without a use case,
> without any real world use of the semantics - they are just included
> for the purpose of having the semantics in the language. In my book,
> that's bad.
>
> I've seen others argue that "semantics for the sake of semantics" goes
> for most element, attribute or relations semantics that can be found
> in HTML already the language, but I disagree. If you have semantics
> with clear use cases, you no longer have "semantics for the sake of
> semantics", you have semantics for the sake of making those use cases
> possible.

The problem with the way you're categorizing this, however, is that  
no one ever proposes a semantic without a use-case. Sure they may  
forget to offer the use-case upfront (e.g., VIDEO, AUDIO, etc). but  
they most likely have a use-case in mind. Every proposed extension to  
HTML should be semantic (I think most of  us agree on that). And I'm  
sure we all understand don't propose a semantic that doesn't have a  
use-case (which goes completely without saying). I would go even  
further and say that there are an infinity of semantics with use- 
cases that we should leave out of the language because they're too  
esoteric[1].

Using a phrase like "semantics for the sake of semantics" is either  
just disparaging other's ideas in a very unhelpful way, or it's a  
misunderstanding of HTML's purpose. Either way, ti's probably a  
phrase we should avoid.

Take care,
Rob

[1]: For example the element i posed in an earlier email:  
IRONYINTHEWAYSHAKESPEAREUSEDITINTHE2NDACTOFAHMLET. This element is a  
semantic element. It has a use-case (an author no less than  
Shakespeare could use it). However, it's too esoteric to include  in  
the language. Requiring a use-case is by far not enough.
<http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2007Aug/0002.html>
Received on Monday, 6 August 2007 17:38:15 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0+W3C-0.50 : Wednesday, 9 May 2012 00:16:03 GMT