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Re: Comments on XHTML 2.0 Working Draft

From: Jonny Axelsson <jax@opera.no>
Date: Wed, 07 Aug 2002 12:47:25 +0200
To: www-html@w3.org
Message-Id: <IG2QDAOIJHIEHBJGD09WQPM4EYX.3d50fabd@defnit>

07.08.02 11:58:24, Jonas Jørgensen <jonasj@jonasj.dk> wrote:

>If backwards compatibility should not be used as an excuse to keep <br>, 
>what *is* the excuse?

This was an argument for deprecation as opposed to removing features 
outright. It is the idea of "fair warning". Noone has said that <br> is 
about to be removed, now we do. Deprecation would make the transition 

>Why should strong be deprecated?

Because it is really <b> by another name. <strong> is different from <em> 
(emphasis) in that there is a real use for emphasis, while "strong 
emphasis" is an artifact from the earliest days of HTML, there is no such 
thing outside the world of HTML. 

The oldest mistakes are the ones hardest to fix. Remember this was long 
before CSS, and while the debate on semantic vs typographical markup was 
hot. "If <em> did away <i>, we need something to do away <b>". This was a 
mistake for two reasons. Firstly, it has harmed, not helped the transition 
to generally useful ("semantic") markup by cementing the relationship i=em 
and b=strong. As a result, you get WYSIWYG editors with bold and italic 
buttons creating <em>s and <strong>s in the code, and automatic tools that 
converts all <i>s and <b>s into <em>s and <strong>s, and imagining that this 
makes for higher quality markup. As my Exhibit A, I would like to show you 
the Web.  

Emphasis on the other hand is worth saving, but not in the form:
  <p><em>Hey, this paragraph is italic!</em></p>
  <p><em>My, and so is this.</em></p>
  <p><em>Look at those paragraphs tilt!</em></p>

This is exactly what will happen when <b> and <i> are gone, but <em> and 
<strong> remains.

Secondly, boldface in Western typography is not properly used for emphasis 
(it is hardly properly used inline at all), but it is commonly used for 
highlighting and marking key phrases. Those would be more useful (and 
"semantic") elements than strong ever was.

Jonny Axelsson,
Opera Software
Received on Wednesday, 7 August 2002 06:47:00 UTC

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