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[whatwg] Definition Lists Recommendations

From: Eugene T.S. Wong <lists.eugenetswong@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 13 Jan 2006 13:58:10 -0800
Message-ID: <op.s3b7a8ydi1dj5p@ew.comeleonhq>
Hi.

Should <DL> children be <LI>? I ask because I think that it will create  
better structure than having all <DT> & <DD> elements be children of the  
same parent. If we use <LI> as children of <DL> elements, and then make  
<DT> & <DD> elements the children of the <LI> elements, then there may be  
better structure. For example:

<DL>

<LI>
<DT><DFN>cat</DFN></DT>
<DD>the thing that is chased by dogs</DD>
</LI>

<LI>
<DT><DFN>color</DFN> <DFN>colour</DFN></DT>
<DD>A sensation which (in humans) derives from the ability of
the fine structure of the eye to distinguish three differently
filtered analyses of a view.</DD>
</LI>

</DL>

It looks a lot like tag soup, but it really is well structured, because  
each concept is 1 list item. Each list item can have many words. This type  
of a list is very similar to a table. <DL> would be similar to <TABLE>,  
<LI> would be similar to <TR>, <DT> would be some kind of <TH> heading,  
and <DD> would be like <TD>. "DT" could stand for "definition terms",  
instead of "definition term".

What do you all think?

If we do implement the <LI> idea, then another idea is to not allow more  
than 1 term in a <DT> element. The problem is that some terms may start  
with letters at a completely different part of the alphabet. For example:

<DL>

<LI>
<DT><DFN>cat</DFN></DT>
<DD>the thing that is chased by dogs</DD>
</LI>

<LI>
<DT><DFN>color</DFN> <DFN>zippyzappa</DFN></DT>
<DD>A sensation which (in humans) derives from the ability of
the fine structure of the eye to distinguish three differently
filtered analyses of a view.</DD>
</LI>

</DL>

In the above example "zippyzappa" is another word for "color". The problem  
is that people may remember the term zippyzappa but forget the definition  
and the location of the definition. They may skim down the "z" section  
looking for "zippyzappa". If it isn't there, then they are out of luck.  
Perhaps seperating the terms may make it easier for them.

<DL>

<LI>
<DT><DFN>cat</DFN></DT>
<DD>the thing that is chased by dogs</DD>
</LI>

<LI>
<DT><DFN>color</DFN></DT>
<DD>A sensation which (in humans) derives from the ability of
the fine structure of the eye to distinguish three differently
filtered analyses of a view.</DD>
</LI>

<LI>
<DT><DFN>zippyzappa</DFN></DT>
<DD>another word for <SPAN>color</SPAN></DD>
</LI>

</DL>

The user should be able to click on the word "color" in the "zippyzappa"  
definition and be taken there. If we decide to allow only 1 term per <DT>  
element, then we wouldn't need to use <DFN> and thus could write:
.
.
.
<DT>foo</DT>
<DD>Lorum ipsum...</DD>
.
.
.
etc.

The specs say DT doesn't have to contain a definition term. What other  
things would it be used for?

-- 
Sincerely, and with thanks,
Eugene T.S. Wong
Received on Friday, 13 January 2006 13:58:10 UTC

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