W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > whatwg@whatwg.org > March 2008

[whatwg] The div element

From: Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, 1 Mar 2008 13:33:18 -0600
Message-ID: <dd0fbad0803011133y45de7225q4c339af1b8667533@mail.gmail.com>
On Fri, Feb 29, 2008 at 10:57 PM, Nicholas C. Zakas <html at nczonline.net>

> From this description, it seems like the <section/> element has little
> use. If you're talking about writing articles, most authors consider the
> start and end of sections as implicitly defined by headings. Making this
> explicit seems unnecessary so long as headings are still available and used.
> It's just extra syntax to represent something that is more easily
> represented without it.
> -Nicholas
Certainly they're defined by headings.  The issue is *which* heading.

If you move sections around (for example, promoting what was originally a
subsection to a full section of an article) you have to manually renumber
all of your headings to get the semantics right.  This is a ton of
meaningless search-and-replace.

If you use a site template, you have to constantly remember that your
content's most important heading is <h3> (or whatever), since the <h1> and
<h2> tags are used in the template.

If you are writing blog posts, you have *no idea* what your top-most heading
should be.  If the post is looked at all by itself, perhaps it gets <h1> or
<h2>.  If the post is displayed among several others on a page, perhaps it
should start with <h3> because the higher tags are taken up by category
headings separating out the posts.

If you are copy-pasting someone else's code into your own (for a blockquote,
frex), you have to adjust all the headings, because the original author has
no way of knowing what level of heading you're using in the piece you're
quoting him in (and obviously has no reason to care).

These are just the use-cases that I could come up with off the top of my
head.  All of these are relatively large inconveniences with the current
<hn> nesting scheme.  They are all solved by using <section> tags, since
that 'resets' the <hn> hierarchy by explicitly sectioning the content.

Nobody is being forced to section all their content using <section>s
explicitly.  That's why the <hn> implicit sectioning algorithm exists - it's
easier to work with.  However, there are many situations when being able to
explicitly define sections is a great boon.

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