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Re: The History of <aside> for sidebars

From: Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 4 Sep 2009 17:26:18 -0500
Message-ID: <dd0fbad0909041526t3f5b55b4oe1b175c8b17066c@mail.gmail.com>
To: Lachlan Hunt <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au>
Cc: public-html@w3.org
On Fri, Sep 4, 2009 at 5:12 PM, Lachlan Hunt<lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au> wrote:
> Tab Atkins Jr. wrote:
>>
>> I'm agreeing with you again!  Yes,<header>/<footer>/<aside>  all
>> indicate that the contained content is not the main content.  In the
>> context of an article they carry additional specific meaning, but in
>> the context of a webpage  they convey only a visual distinction.
>
> No, they don't.  While they have a partial overlap in the kinds of content
> that could be included within each, the issue is more about their contextual
> and structural significance than about what they contain.
>
> Your argument about sharing common content types could, for example, be
> applied to <ol> and <ul>.  Both just contain a list of list items, and by
> that logic alone it doesn't make sense to distinguish them.  But it's clear
> there's more to it than just their content models.  The significance that
> the ol element places upon the order of the list items is sufficient to
> justify a separate element.  Similarly, a headers, footers and sidebars
> provide context for their contents.

I specified that I was using a colloquial sense of "content models".
<ol> and <ul> definitely have different contents, as one holds an
ordered list and the other holds an unordered list.

Using the same colloquial definition, a *website's*
header/footer/sidebar area contains nearly exactly the same sort of
stuff.  There's very few things that can't be reasonably be put in two
of them, or quite often in all three.  An article's header/footer/side
areas are much more defined in terms of what they contain,
semantically.

In case it isn't clear, when I'm saying 'website' I'm talking about a
site's template that appears virtually unchanged on all pages.  When
I'm saying 'article' I'm referring to the specific contents of each
page, as well as other reasonable concepts of 'article' like a
magazine article or similar.

> For instance, a top level heading in a header element represents the heading
> for the following content in the remainder of the section, whereas a heading
> within a footer or sidebar only represents a heading for the subsequent
> content within the footer.

I also explicitly said that site headings were a rare exception in
that they virtually always live in the 'heading area', which would
naturally be marked up with <header>.  That being said, I've seen a
site where the 'heading area' contained only navigation, and the site
heading was in the sidebar.

~TJ
Received on Friday, 4 September 2009 22:27:21 UTC

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