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

Re: Cleaning House

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Sun, 6 May 2007 04:10:00 -0700
Message-Id: <053F5A1F-817C-4A69-BA75-31F197FC3205@apple.com>
Cc: Murray Maloney <murray@muzmo.com>, www-html@w3.org, public-html@w3.org
To: Tina Holmboe <tina@greytower.co.uk>


On May 6, 2007, at 3:53 AM, Tina Holmboe wrote:

> On Sun, May 06, 2007 at 03:27:21AM -0700, Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
>
>>>> elements. But consider <i class="ship">.
>>>
>>>  Meaning nothing. Do you mean a ship name? Or is it an abbreviate
>>>  name for a shipping label? Or perhaps even a status saying whether
>>>  something is about to ship?
>>
>> What is the correct way, according to you, to mark up a ship name?
>
>   That wasn't the topic. Ideally we would use the <shipname> element,
>   of course, but that doesn't exist in HTML - and no-one has ever
>   said that HTML ought contain elements for all conceivable
>   semantic constructs.

Agreed, but if there's no way to express the concept of a ship name  
in a way that, according to you, is semantically meaningful, then I  
don't think you can blame others for doing it in a way that isn't.

>   With that firmly out of the way, it depends on the style of
>   publication - as others point out: it's by no means a certainty
>   that a ship's name should be set in italics.
>
>   I would suggest the following if using HTML:
>
>      <span class="shipName">
>       <abbr title="Her Majesty's Ship">HMS</abbr> Gannet</span>
>
>   Yes, the SPAN-element is semantically null. But no precise
>   element exist. The 'house style' can now be attached to the
>   class "shipName", but there is, in the above, /no semantic
>   value communicated/.
>
>   Which is a shame, of course, but again: we can't make a
>   markup language that fit all, and we most certainly cannot
>   start guessing at what the content of an I-element might
>   or might not be!

It seems, then, that in this case using the <i> element instead of  
<span> would do no harm (both are according to you equally lacking in  
semantics), and would have the benefit of defining a useful default  
presentation for multiple media, even in non-CSS user agents such as  
Lynx.

>   The original point, however, remain unchanged even if we
>   move from the poorly chosen class name "ship" to the more
>   precise "shipName". The I-ement convey no more semantics
>   than does SPAN.

It does likely convey that the usage is one of the typical  
typographical usages of italics. Wikipedia lists ten of them at  
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italic_type>. Two of these ten are  
better covered by <em> or <var>.

>   PS: Yes, the ABBR element is needed in this context,
>   and I did enjoy using it there.

Let's hope no one brings up ACRONYM or the thread will be over.

Regards,
Maciej
Received on Sunday, 6 May 2007 11:10:10 UTC

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