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Re: [html] Semantics of "aside", "header", and "footer"

From: James Graham <jg307@cam.ac.uk>
Date: Fri, 07 Sep 2007 12:54:41 +0100
Message-ID: <46E13C01.9060007@cam.ac.uk>
To: Jens Meiert <jens.meiert@erde3.com>
CC: public-html@w3.org

Jens Meiert wrote:
> Andrew Fedoniouk wrote:
>> footer { position: fixed; top:0; }
>> Is it still footer or is it header now?
> That exactly “made me wonder”.

It's a footer. Functionally you might notice this for several reasons:

* It wouldn't take part in the heading algorithm [1]

* It wouldn't be read by a screenreader which ignored footers in some sort of 
page skimming mode

* It could have a different default print stylesheet

The second point is an example of extra functionality that can be provided by 
having a <footer> element. There's also evidence that authors would use this 
element, even if they do not use the UAs which make use of <footer> to improve 
the user experience; "footer" is the most commonly found classname in the Google 
survey by some margin [2]. Any other name to represent the same concept is 
likely to be more confusing than following this precedent.

<header> also fills a hole in the language; it provides a way of marking up 
heading + subheading content; the lack of this functionality in HTML 4 is 
something that authors often try to work around by abusing <h1>-<h6> e.g. by 
doing things like

<h1>My blog</h1>
<h3>With an amusing tagline</h3>
<h2>My First Article</h2>

[1] http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/#headings
[2] http://code.google.com/webstats/2005-12/classes.html

"Eternity's a terrible thought. I mean, where's it all going to end?"
  -- Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
Received on Friday, 7 September 2007 11:54:56 UTC

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