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Re: HTML 5 Authoring Guidelines Proposal the use of the section element and its potential impact on

From: James Graham <jg307@cam.ac.uk>
Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2007 18:01:43 +0000
Message-ID: <474DAD07.2020109@cam.ac.uk>
To: Justin Thorp <juth@loc.gov>
CC: joshue.oconnor@cfit.ie, Ben Boyle <benjamins.boyle@gmail.com>, Terry Morris <lsnbluff@gmail.com>, Lachlan Hunt <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au>, "public-html@w3.org" <public-html@w3.org>

Justin Thorp wrote:
> In my humble opinion, it seems like the use of h1-h6 headers is much easier for an author to wrap their head around then deriving structure of the a section & header combination.
> 
> With the H1-H6 headers, it's easer for a human to read the code and infer what the structure of the document is.  It's much harder to read through nested section elements.
> 
> That and practically I could see the section tag being abused just as much as the div tag.  
> 
> I don't understand what we get by adding it.

Consider for example a river-of-news style blog aggregator (like planet / 
Venus). There we are pulling in content from a variety of sources into a single 
document. Each of those individual pieces of content has a heading structure of 
its own; the aggregator will presumably add further headings. As I understand 
it, the HTML 5 heading algorithm, when used in combination with elements such as 
<section> and <article>, produces the expected outline without requiring the 
aggregator to rewrite all the headings from the aggregated content. For example, 
the following markup:

<body>
<h1>Planet HTML</h1>

<article>
<h2>W3C - HTML 5 Last Call</h2>
<section>
<h2>First article heading</h2>
[...]
<h2>Second article heading>
</section>
</article>

<article>
<h2>mozilla.org - Firefox 6 Released</h2>
<section>
<h1>First article heading</h1>
<h2>First article subheading</h2>
</section>
</article>

</body>

would (I believe) have an outline like:

Planet HTML
  |-- W3C - HTML 5 Last Call
      |-- First article heading
      |-- Second article heading
  |--mozilla.org - Firefox 6 Released
     |-- First article heading
           |--First article subheading

So there is a use case for explicit sectioning elements and a requirement to 
support HTML 4-style headings along with the sectioning elements in a 
well-defined way. Given this, I don't see the value of adding a <h> element to 
accompany <section>; it just adds to confusion as its not clear what markup like:

<h>Heading 1</h>
<h2>Heading 2</h2>
<h>Heading 3</h>
<h3>Heading 4</h3>

should mean. Is Heading 2 at the same level as Heading 1 or one level deeper? In 
practice I suspect you would end up defining <h> to behave like <h1> in the 
existing HTML 5 algorithm; I'm not sure that throwing a new element into the mix 
that is a synonym for an existing element will actually help understanding.

-- 
"Eternity's a terrible thought. I mean, where's it all going to end?"
  -- Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
Received on Wednesday, 28 November 2007 18:02:06 GMT

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