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

problem-statements for HTML 4.01 differences

From: Rob Burns <robburns1@mac.com>
Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2007 02:15:59 -0500
Message-Id: <7107D866-16BF-433B-AA77-737BD1AD6E0F@mac.com>
To: HTMLWG WG <public-html@w3.org>

Hello all,

I categorized the HTML5 changes on the HTML main wiki page [1]. I  
think the list might look overwhelming in its previous form. Now I  
think some of the categories and subcategories do no require much  
explanation. For example, it would not surprise most WG members to  
see elements and attribute previously deprecated in HTML 4.01 dropped  
in HTML5. A similar status for many presentational elements and  
attributes. Those elements and attributes that are BOTH deprecated in  
HTML 4.01 and presentational hardly need further explanation. Below  
I've included a basic outline of the categorization. The items with  
asterisks probably are in most need of explanation.

if those long-time members of the WhatWG could recollect some of the  
discussions that went on surrounding these issues, that would be very  
helpful.  As our editor has said several times: focussing "on  
solutions before fully describing problems [...] isn't an effective  
language design strategy, and would IMHO be ultimately doomed to  
failure if we followed it. " I understand that much of this material  
is buried in the WhatWG mail archives, but I think to make this  
process work it really needs to be brought to the Wiki so that we can  
all build a shared understanding and consensus for this project.

Newly added elements and attributes
The highest priority is probably the newly added elements and  
attributes. Understanding the use-cases/problem-statements that  
motivated adding these solutions to the language would aide all of us  
in reviewing, understanding and discussing the HTML5 draft. Sometimes  
the use-case may be obvious, but in many cases it is not.

Elements with changed meaning
Following those, there is the issue of the modified meaning of  
elements: B, I, SMALL,HR and STRONG. There has been some discussion  
on the list serve surrounding these changes, However, especially  
considering the name collision issues surrounding these namespace  
conflicts, it would be a good idea to start new wiki pages that state  
specifically what problem motivates such changes to these elements.  
That way the WG can place other solutions along-side those solutions  
and we can step back and take a wider view of these problems and  

Dropped elements
Two dropped elements stand out.: NOSCRIPT and APPLET. NOSCRIPT is  
dropped from the XML serialization, but remains in the text/html  
serialization. It would be helpful for someone to explain why we're  
creating this difference in the serialization. If it's only for  
backwards compatibility, could we not drop NOSCRIPT form the document  
conformance criteria and keep it in the UA conformance criteria. This  
would help erase another difference between the serializations.

On the issue of APPLET, though it was deprecated in HTML 4.01, HTML5  
introduces similar semantic distinctions with the CANVAS, AUDIO, and  
VIDEO elements. Just like APPLET, these are all elements that  
distinguish between different kinds of embedded objects. So even  
though its an HTML 4.01 deprecated element, some explanation of the  
dropped APPLET would be helpful.

Dropped attributes
The list of dropped attributes is probably the most significant  
(other than the added facilities). Some of these attributes are those  
presentational attributes already deprecated in HTML 4.01. However,  
there are other ifram related and table related presentational  
attributes that were not deprecated in HTML 4.01. Many of those may  
have been superseded by CSS in the last 8 years, but we should try to  
establish that formerly in our issue-tracking wiki. The dropped  
attributes list includes: accessibility related attributes, table  
related attributes, metadata related attributes, the attribute for  
associating style sheet data; and many others such as the OBJECT/ 
PARAM related attributes, @name, and some image map and frame related  

At the end of this message, I've included an outline of the problem- 
statements we still need to document. Thanks for your cooperation.

Take care,

[1]: <http://esw.w3.org/topic/HTML>
[2]: <http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2007Aug/0108.html>

Outline of HTML changes[1]
*Justification for Adding Elements

*Justification for Adding Attributes

Justification for Changing Attributes
      Made global from almost global
      Made global only interactive elements: @tabindex

Justification for Changing Elements
      behavioral/interpretive changes
     *changes in meaning (subtle and not so subtle): B, I, SMALL, HR,  

Justification for Dropping Attributes
     *Accessibility related: @accesskey, @longdesc, @summary, @abbr,
     *Table related: @axis, @headers, TD@scope
     *Metadata related: @profile, @scheme, @version, LINK@rev, A@rev
     *Advisory: SCRIPT@charset, A@charset, LINK@charset, SCRIPT@language
     *Associating style sheet data: @style
     *Other: e.g., OBJECT@archive, @classid, @codebase, @codetype,  
@declare, @standby; PARAM@valuetype, @type; LINK@target, AREA@nohref,  
A@share, A@coords, @name (except on META and PARAM)

Justification for Dropping Presentational Attributes
     *Not Previously deprecated INPUT and SELECT: @size
     *Not Previously deprecated table related
      *Not Previously deprecated iframe related
       Previously deprecated

Justification for Dropping Elements
      Not Previously deprecated: ACRONYM
     *Not Previously deprecated: NOSCRIPT
      Not Previously deprecated Frame related: FRAME, FRAMESET, NOFRAMES
     *Previously deprecated: APPLET
      Previously deprecated: DIR, ISINDEX
      Previously deprecated presentation elements
Received on Tuesday, 14 August 2007 07:16:11 UTC

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