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

Re: Getting beyond the ping pong match

From: Dão Gottwald <dao@design-noir.de>
Date: Mon, 07 May 2007 00:09:07 +0200
Message-ID: <463E5203.10706@design-noir.de>
To: Rene Saarsoo <nene@triin.net>
CC: public-html@w3.org

Rene Saarsoo schrieb:
> First of all - it's pretty pointless to argue over
> one single proposed predefined class name. It's not the
> copyright class and how it's used, it's the principle, whether
> we should or should not have predefined class names at all.
> 
> Here are my objections agains predefined class names:
> 
> 
> 1. Many sites use those class names for something else
> 
>    Although "copyright" is quite often used in accordance
>    with the proposed spec, others are quite often used for
>    other purposes. Especially ambiguos are the "note" and
>    "issue", which could also refere to musical note or bank
>    note; or issue of a newspaper.
> 
>    I also recorded uses like the following:
> 
>    <span class="note">Note:</span> you can also add the...
> 
>    <input type="text" size="30" max="50" name="firstname">
>    <span class="note">optional</span>

You write "It's not the copyright class and how it's used, it's the 
principle", and then start with two other special class names.

I agree that "note" and "issue" are too ambiguous. Consequence is that 
they shouldn't be predefined classes, rather than that there should be 
no predefined classes.

> 2. This is not a future-proof way to extend HTML
> 
>    Although at the moment we might find a set of classnames,
>    for which we can be sure, that they are mostly used so, how
>    we want them to be used, can we be sure, that when we
>    need to add some more predefined class names in the future,
>    then those won't introduce any problems?
> 
>    No, we can't.

Neither can you assure that there won't be a new set of names that can 
be added. It's pointless. Although it's not *the* way to extend HTML, I 
see no evidence that it can't be *a* way, now and in the future.

>    Every time we want to consider a new predefined class name,
>    we have to go through the whole process again.

So what?

> 3. Making some class names special is confusing
> 
>    Suddenly all authors will need to remember, that there
>    is this set of predefined class names, which differently
>    from all the other meaningless class names have meaning.
>    Currently there are only seven predefined class names,
>    but in the future we might add a lot more.
> 
>    This complicates the class attribute and confuses developers.
>    It's confusing when class names most of the time have no
>    meaning what so ever, but someties do have a meaning.

A class name should always have a meaning. That is something that 
authors should learn. Other than that, there's hardly something new. 
Authors don't even have to know any of the predefined classes -- they 
can use names that they find useful! The question is whether or not some 
meanings should be exposed to user agents.

> 4. Predefined class names are impossible to validate
> 
>    Clearly it would be helpful, if HTML validator would
>    tell you, if you had misspelled the predefined classname,
>    but because the normal class names are at the same
>    namespace, every misspelled predefined class name becomes
>    normal meaningless class name and can't be therefore
>    detected by validator.

I believe allowing authors define their own classes is an advantage -- 
that this clashes with validation is a rather small price to pay.

--Dao
Received on Sunday, 6 May 2007 22:09:18 GMT

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