W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-xhtml2@w3.org > January 2009

The P content model

From: Tina Holmboe <tina@greytower.net>
Date: Sun, 11 Jan 2009 00:52:59 +0100 (CET)
To: XHTML WG <public-xhtml2@w3.org>
Message-ID: <tkrat.dacee9cede2d4984@greytower.net>

 [Note: in this mail I use all uppercase for element names simply to
  make them stand out in a plain text environment such as mail.
  Similarly I use the @attribute-name convention]

  "I mean, think about how books are structured. If tables are
   ever included, they're always labelled as 'Table 1' and set off
   to the side, and even if it breaks a paragraph visually, I
   would always perceive that the text flows around the table,
   not that the paragraph contains a table."

 This is a quote from an acquaintance in response to the question of
 what, possibly, goes on inside a paragraph. Currently the XHTML 2 draft
 says the following:

  "In comparison with earlier versions of HTML, where a paragraph could
   only contain inline text, XHTML2's paragraphs represent the conceptual
   idea of a paragraph, and so may contain lists, blockquotes, pre's and
   tables as well as inline text. Note however that they may not contain
   directly nested p elements." - W3C Editor's Draft 09 January 2009

 But frankly I feel we have a problem. When humans communicate we do so
 by agreeing on the of words - and various other things outside the
 scope of this comment - so that when I say banana, you know its not an
 orange of which I speak.

 However, looking up "paragraph" in the OED gives us

   "A distinct section of a piece of writing, beginning on a new line"

 and in Wikipedia: 

   "A passage in text that is about a different subject from the preceding
    text, marked by commencing on a new line, the first line sometimes
    being indented."

 or from Merriam-Webster:

   "A subdivision of a written composition that consists of one or more
    sentences, deals with one point or gives the words of one speaker,
    and begins on a new usually indented line b: a short composition or
    note that is complete in one paragraph"

 I would argue that common concept of a paragraph is quite different
 from that we currently use in the XHTML draft, and that we should
 change it so that it reflect the way a paragraph is normally understood
 by authors, namely the way it is currently defined in the XHTML 1.*
 series languages.

 Note that I do not in any way claim there are no need to render, for
 instance, a paragraph on the side of, or even around, a table. What I
 am saying is that the structure of a paragraph does not admit itself to
 contain a table, a pre, or even a blockquote. A list is an edge case,
 but should we allow this I suggest the creation of an inline list
 element type.

 We must, in my view, keep this firmly in mind: 

  "Less presentation, more structure: use style sheets for defining
   presentation" - W3C Editor's Draft 09 January 2009

 Rendering a table 'inside' a paragraph is certainly the work of CSS,
 not XHTML.

 - Tina Holmboe       siteSifter                  Greytower Technologies
            http://www.sitesifter.co.uk          http://www.greytower.net
      Website Quality and Accessibility Testing
Received on Saturday, 10 January 2009 23:53:37 UTC

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