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Re: Markup Challenge: aaronsw.com

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2002 13:25:43 +0000 (GMT)
To: Aaron Swartz <me@aaronsw.com>
Cc: "www-archive@w3.org" <www-archive@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.21.0211261243490.24099-100000@dhalsim.dreamhost.com>

On Sun, 24 Nov 2002, Aaron Swartz wrote:
>> ".com" was supposed to be for companies, and this site is not a 
>> commercial site.
> Ooh, that's a good one! Luckily for me RFC 1591 is only informative, 
> not standards-track, so I don't need to meet this requirement.

Yeah. Like I said, it's a minor problem. In any case the "correct" domain
(.name, I guess) wasn't available when you started your site.

>> The HTML files contain no encoding information
> Did you look at the headers? They're sent as:
> Content-Type: text/html; charset=utf-8

I did look at the headers, but apparently not well enough. I'm a little
confused here. I may have been looking at your xhtml.aaronsw.com site,
which doesn't have a charset header, altough of course it doesn't need one
since it unambiguously gets treated as UTF-8.

My bad.

>> As with Mark's <div id="logo">, this element appears to be there 
>> purely for stylistic reasons and doesn't seem to add anything to the 
>> structore of the document. As such, it should be removed.
> I consider <span> and <div> as base classes, to be subclassed (using 
> class="...") when no more specific class will do.

This is not what XHTML says, though. The DIV and SPAN elements, in
conjunction with the id and class attributes, offer a generic mechanism
for adding structure to documents. These elements define content to be
inline (SPAN) or block-level (DIV) but impose no other presentational
idioms on the content. They also impose no semantic information.

Classes and IDs are also free of any defined semantics.

> Using well-known-classes [...]

There is no such thing as a well known class. Any tool that makes
assumptions about classes is broken.

To quote from a recent blog of mine:

| Don't use class attributes, unless the XHTML working group define a
| set of normative classes (which wouldn't be a bad idea, actually). A
| key aspect of class attributes is that they are totally
| semantic-free: they mean nothing. A "rose main" class in a document
| could mean that the element is the most important aspect of the
| document as well as being one which has risen above the rest, or it
| could mean that it is the central part of Rose's speech, or it could
| mean that it is the part of the document representing the pink hand.
| All that you can assume is that it is a space separated list of
| author-defined tokens.

>> <div class="content"><div id="main"> At least one of those <div>s
>> is redundant, if not both.
> content indicates the portion of the document that is relatively unique 
> (not part of the banner/head or the footer).

Says who? It could equally well delimit a span containing the protein
content of a recipe.

> Meanwhile, id="main" separates the recent weblog entries from the
> sidebar.

Says who? It could equally mean the "hand" part of a document.

>> The image is purely decorative as far as I can tell: if I was reading 
>> this story to someone, the image would not convey any additional 
>> information.
> Huh? Did you read the title or the last paragraph? 
> http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog/000721

Nope, I didn't read the final paragraph (hey, when you're reading a
site by its source sometimes you miss stuff... :-) ).

Ok, so the image does need reasonably alternate text. I would suggest:

   alt="There was an illustration in the Times today, depicting the
   corner of a building with a single vertically sliding window, open,
   with two hands having apparently just thrust a two-drawer file
   cabinet out of the building. The file cabinet is upside down and
   its bottom drawer is open, with papers and files falling out."

The important thing to note is that the image is conveying the
delightful illustration in this case, it is not conveying simply "a
file cabinet being thrown out the window".

Note how now it is definitely a paragraph (<p>) and not a section
(<div>). Also, be careful where you (don't) put spaces -- currently,
your first paragraph looks like: "A file cabinet being thrown out the
windowJon Keegan, New York Times". (Yes, that's "windowJon".)

The "(left)" part of the paragraph should probably be changed, too, as
there is little chance that the image will be on the left unless the
UA is a modern graphical Web browser with no user stylesheet (on
speech browsers, there is no left). As TBL would say, "don't talk
about the mechanics". Possibly a better solution would be to make the
text "delightful illustration" link to the image using a fragment

>> alt="spread the dot"
> Changed to alt="&#x2022;" - BULLET. A bullet is a type of dot, so I 
> think I'm OK.

That seems reasonable.

>> According to Dan Conolly, the <address> element is a general footer 
>> element
> It's "Connolly".

Oops, typo.

> No, that's what I said[1]. Dan Connolly corrected me, saying "I take
> the <address> tag to provide a signature for the page; signatures
> usually include dates"[2].
> [1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-talk/2001MayJun/0066
> [2] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-talk/2001MayJun/0068

Ah, yes, that's the one.

> I don't think signatures usually include copyright notices.

Fair enough.

I think the clearest thing to take from this discussion, by the way,
is that XHTML needs to take some ideas from DocBook. We need a
"subtitle" element, we need a "footer" element, we need a "sidenote"
element and a "body" element. (Oh wait, we have that.)

We need some normative classes.

Basically, we need more semantics.

Ian Hickson                                      )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
"meow"                                          /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
http://index.hixie.ch/                         `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Tuesday, 26 November 2002 08:25:45 UTC

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