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document divisions (was Re. Horizontal rules)

From: nir dagan <dagan@upf.es>
Date: Sun Mar 29 13:06:45 1998
Message-Id: <199803291759.TAA09837@sahara.upf.es>
To: jasonw@ariel.ucs.unimelb.EDU.AU
Cc: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org

Jason White said:

I would also suggest that it is preferable to indicate
structure by means of the DIV element rather than the horizontal rule,

Nir:

I agree. I did not attemp to promote the usage of rules, but rather 
to think of mechanisms to assure correct rendering in non-visual media.
With rules it seems more difficult than with headings or paragraphs,
as many authors heavily rely on the visual presentation of rules.
I was more in "how to fix damages done with horizontal rules", rather 
than "use horizontal rules for structure".

Jason:
 since the former allows hierarchies to be generated, as in the following
 example:
 
 <div title="part 1">
 <div title="chapter 1">
 [...]
 </div>
 <div title="chapter 2">
 [...]
 </div>
 </div>

Nir:
I think that even better would be:

<DIV class="part">
<DIV class="chapter">
[...]
</DIV>
<DIV class="chapter">
[...]
</DIV>
</DIV>

The fact that it is part 1 or chapter 2 should be presented in the content 
of the DIVs, e.g., by the headings.

As DIV is a generic style container, using classes will enable the 
author to use one class system to provide different styles to different media.

For example, if some additional text is needed in aural medium, the author 
may use genereted text for that. It could be that in visual media the 
structure will be better presented without that text, but with background 
colors, for example.

Actually just writing  a <DIV> without attributes may be OK sometimes,
by giving style rules like: 

DIV P {property}
DIV DIV P {property}

Jason:
...
> The
> use of HR alone to indicate divisions within the document would offer no
> representation in the HTML markup of its structural organisation. If both
> HR and DIV are used together, then the functionality of the TITLE
> attribute of one of these elements becomes redundant.
> 

Nir:
I agree that using only HR for divisions is not a good idea. 
The classical HTML method of presenting divisions is using headings 
H1,...,H6. The DIV method should not replace headings but should come in 
addition, as DIV is a style container and documents must be well presented 
without stylesheets. 

The DIV method has a structural advantage over headings alone, (as noted by 
Jason) since the HTML document tree becomes identical with the logical 
organization of text of the document. When "nesting" headings they are 
not nested in the formal HTML/SGML sense.

Regards,
Nir Dagan.
Received on Sunday, 29 March 1998 13:06:45 GMT

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