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Re: Namespace

From: Robert Burns <rob@robburns.com>
Date: Tue, 17 Jul 2007 23:20:34 -0500
Message-Id: <0B054AD8-6FBE-4A44-99BF-5CA78AB1902F@robburns.com>
Cc: HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
To: Lachlan Hunt <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au>


On Jul 17, 2007, at 9:10 PM, Lachlan Hunt wrote:
>
> The definition of HR in HTML 2.0 was:
>
>   The <HR> element is a divider between sections of text; typically a
>   full width horizontal rule or equivalent graphic.
>
> In HTML 3.2, that became:
>
>   Horizontal rules may be used to indicate a change in topic. In a
>   speech based user agent, the rule could be rendered as a pause.
>
> In HTML 4.01, that became:
>
>   The HR element causes a horizontal rule to be rendered by visual  
> user
>   agents.
>
> The HTML4 definition is entirely presentational and not at all  
> useful. HTML5 defines it in a way that is more compatible with its  
> semantics in HTML 2.0 and 3.2.
>
>   The hr element represents a paragraph-level thematic break, e.g. a
>   scene change in a story, or a transition to another topic within a
>   section of a reference book.

One other thing I want to add on this issue of <hr>. None of these  
changes occurred while the recommendation had something called a  
namespace. The introduction  in XHTML1  of a namespace was a first.  
 From that point on, the recommendation was making a promise to the  
community that these names are stable. They will not change  in  
meaning. They may change in content model. That's an open issue, and  
I imagine that may be another explanation as to why the XHTML2 WG  
hasn't necessarily settled the namespace issue.

It 's only a namespace however. It's not the be all end all of our  
recommendation (or theirs). If we really think newly introduced  
elements <small> and <strong>  are worth keeping even though they  
collide with the old elements <strong> and <small> then we can just  
select a new namespace URI and no harm done. If we'd rather keep the  
namespace than we can introduce a whole slew of new elements to  
fulfill this authoring need: <important>, <copyright>,  
<disadvantage>, etc.

In my view the need for these semantics is so minor that it's just  
not worth it. It's not worth adding new elements (though maybe  
<copyright> is worthwhile) and it's not worth undermining the XHTML1  
namespace.

Take care,
Rob
Received on Wednesday, 18 July 2007 04:20:45 GMT

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