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Re: Context of the main element

From: Cameron Jones <cmhjones@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2013 16:58:09 +0000
Message-ID: <CALGrges1TCkyrwqU8z7VA=C3mmu_oBqmkHSD66o88JPZaC1Kdw@mail.gmail.com>
To: Jeremy Keith <jeremy@adactio.com>
Cc: "HTML WG (public-html@w3.org)" <public-html@w3.org>
On Thu, Jan 31, 2013 at 3:24 PM, Jeremy Keith <jeremy@adactio.com> wrote:

>
> It seems a shame to introduce a new element that can only be used zero or
> one time in a document ...I think the head and body elements are the only
> other elements with this restriction (and I believe the title element is
> the only element that is used precisely once per document).
>

And so the can or worms is well and truly opened, spilt and wriggling into
every last corner they can find there way into...

The <main> element is not supposed to be a general purpose container
element, there are <section>, <article> and <div> 's for both semantic and
unsemantic collections of elements.


>
> It would be handy to be able to explicitly mark up the main content of an
> article or an aside—for exactly the same reasons that it would be useful to
> mark up the main content of a document.
>
> So why not?
>
>
Because it doesn't mean anything in any practical sense, only as "semantic
sugar" for css targeting.

The point of <main> was to enable non-determinable, nested, skip-to-content
navigation where the structure of the page is too complicated for
algorithmic determination.

This is what the ARIA attribute is for, and, the vis-a-vis role of the
<main> element. If not implemented in a compatible manner by authors the
use case of <main> is negated to the point that it can only be regarded as
a non-semantic container element, aka a synonym of <div>.

My personal opinion is that users requiring assistance with HTML
interaction should be 1st class internet citizens and as such they require
a solution built for purpose and explicitly authored for that mode of
interaction. Anything less is a lower status and the derision of their
inescapable and incapacitating needs.

As previously stated at the time, the effectual deployment of <main> is
conjecture at present and can't be known a priori, however previous
experience has shown that all good intentions in theory can fall prey to
the old adage that the difference between theory and practice is that in
theory there is none.

In theory everyone will read the specification and adhere to its
restrictions for the benefits that have been previously reasoned by the
experts, but what do they know? I'm trying to write some clean css!

It would seem that proponents will not be convinced otherwise until there
is real world data so this is a catch-22 situation, but expanding the use
cases of <main> only shows the misunderstanding within the specification
reading community prior to deployment so it's not looking good. I honestly
can't see the reasoning that thinks that if you can't get people to use
role="main" (which is far more semantically flexible anyway) you're somehow
going to get everyone to use <main> correctly for the sole purpose of
enhancing accessibility.

Thanks,
Cameron Jones
Received on Thursday, 31 January 2013 16:58:38 UTC

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