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Re: Comments on XHTML 2.0 Working Draft

From: Mark Gallagher <mark@cyberfuddle.com>
Date: Wed, 07 Aug 2002 21:38:58 +1000
Message-ID: <3D5106D2.5000603@cyberfuddle.com>
To: jax@opera.no
CC: www-html@w3.org

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

<snip />

>>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. 

I think it's to do with the level of emphasis.  I'm EMPHASISING *each* 
/word/ _differently_ <here>.  I think there is a use for different 
levels (compare stressing your voice to snarling to shouting IRL), 
however it'd probably be better as:

<emphasis level="weak">
<emphasis level="strong">


<b> is, AIUI, an artifact of the 3.x days, when everyone seemed to 
forget the difference between style and structure.  <strong> is "strong 
emphasis", whereas <b> is "bold".  They are equivalent only in visual 
terms, and even then only roughly (you can style <strong> in any way as 
to make it stand out more/less, but styling <b> to be, for example, not 
bold, would be pretty silly).

> 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.  

I agree with you here.

> 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.

Education is necessary, I guess.  But then, consider that when <b> and 
<i> are finally heaped onto the Dustbin of Life and no longer used, most 
people will have been introduced into the wonderful world of 
stylesheets.  Using <em> for italic, rather than /emphasis/, would thus 
be the result of sheer laziness on behalf of the "designer", rather than 
ignorance.  I think that could be considered an improvement, but it's a 
matter of opinion, I guess.

> 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.

What relevance would <keyphrase> (or whatever) have to screen readers 
(where the user can't scan as easily) or phones/palmtops/etc. (where the 
user has a much reduced screen-size)?

I know Jakob Neilsen does it, but not *everything* he says is right :-)

Mark Gallagher
Desperately attempting - and failing - to stay on topic since 1999
fuddleriffic - http://cyberfuddle.com/
blog - http://cyberfuddle.com/infinitebabble/
Received on Wednesday, 7 August 2002 07:29:59 UTC

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