W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > February 2008

Re: Conformance of DL Groups Missing DT or DD

From: Dr. Olaf Hoffmann <Dr.O.Hoffmann@gmx.de>
Date: Wed, 27 Feb 2008 17:49:53 +0100
To: public-html@w3.org
Message-Id: <200802271749.53082.Dr.O.Hoffmann@gmx.de>

> On Wed, 27 Feb 2008, Dr. Olaf Hoffmann wrote:
> > For historical reasons there are mainly to types of text - poetry and
> > prose. Prose can be seen as a degenerate descendant of poetry with less
> > structure, therefore if HTML5 defines prose content,
> > http://www.w3.org/html/wg/html5/#prose what it exactly means is defined
> > in detail by the naming already: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prose
> To aid here I've renamed "prose content" to "flow content". Hopefully this
> will reduce the confusion.

Yes, indeed.

> In general, though, terms that are defined by the specification do not
> take on any meaning from the words used in their name. Just because
> something is called "interactive content" doesn't mean it's interactive,
> for example, unless the spec says it does.

If the name has a common meaning, it is obviously not useful to abuse the
name for something different. The opposite case has an advantage.
For example in physics or mathematics often words are taken and 
specified in more detail, what they mean, but they are not taken to
specify something completely different to confuse the audience ;o)
I think, 'interactive content' has not a very specific meaning in 
general, only some associations for example with the related 
behaviour in SVG with interactive begin and end of declarative
animations etc. 

> > It is the typical practice for HTML4 if you do not find an element with
> > sufficient structure and semantical meaning, choose a closely related
> > element to get the best what you can get.
> If that element is "close" but still not a fit, it's not good practice.

Well, if there is no better, then an author has just the choice between
another language or to use an element with a related meaning and
sufficient structure - I do not think, this is good at all, it only shows, 
that the language in use is still rudimental.

> > Therefore in HTML4 clearly dl/dt or dl/dd is already
> > the best choice for most parts of poetry.
> It really isn't. :-)

Why it is, is already detailled in the wiki:
Some specific elements would be better, but before they 
exist, this fits best...

> > As detailled in the wiki the examples in the current HTML5 draft do not
> > use elements with a sufficient structure and are therefore bad or poor
> > examples to markup poetry.
> I don't understand why the examples in the spec are bad.


> > > Notwithstanding existing practice, using <dl> elements for poetry is
> > > blatently wrong and an abuse of the semantics of the <dl> element, both
> > > in HTML4, and in HTML5, even with HTML5's loosening of the rules.
> >
> > No, see above, it is the best choice already in HTML4
> It really isn't. I'm not sure what makes you think it is.


There is not reason to repeat the arguments in any email again...

> > > Poetry is no more important than stories, addresses, legal documents,
> > > letters, and any number of other document types, none of which have
> > > their own section either.
> >
> > It is not more important, but it has a richer microstructure.
> I do not buy that at all. Letter have a complex microstructure. So do
> dictionaries, so do legal documents, so do addresses, etc... 

Sure, several of them have similar problems, that can be covered
sometimes approximately with dl/dt/dd or some other elements and
some crutches in HTML4 or XHTML1.x, if the meaning and usage of 
such elements is not restricted by the specification.

> Some of these 
> are addressed by Microformats. 
> Poetry of various kinds is already 
> adequately handled just with <p>, <br>, <pre>, and the phrasing elements
> (in particular <i> and <em>); I really don't see any reason to go into
> more structure in HTML5. Define a set of class names if you really must
> deconstruct your poetry more than this (though frankly I'd say you are
> likely missing the point of the poems if you think this is necessary).

Because the values of class have no predefined meaning, this is a
crutch too with its own problems. In combination with CSS it helps
to align the presentation to something useful, not the markup of
the content at all.
Obviously this could be covered with attributes like role or kind
with predefined meanings in HTML5, if this is done and the usage
of realated elements are not restricted to exclude such usages,
this would be sufficient - just do it ;o)
Received on Wednesday, 27 February 2008 17:14:49 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Wednesday, 7 January 2015 16:25:16 UTC