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Re: XHTML 2.0 - <line> or <l>?

From: John Lewis <lewi0371@mrs.umn.edu>
Date: Thu, 26 Dec 2002 06:03:37 -0600
Message-ID: <180367371960.20021226060337@cda.mrs.umn.edu>
To: www-html@w3.org

Daniel wrote on Thursday, December 26, 2002 at 3:07:22 AM:

> Seriously, XHTML 2.0 is said to get rid of presentational stuff,

Well, most of it. XTHML 2.0 is, for the most part, shaping up to be a
structural language; but it's also a generic, fuzzy language, and it's
impossible to be both completely. Either you define a great many
elements, and lose the whole mainstream thing, or you cut corners with
presentational elements and corrupt XHTML 2.0's structural purity. I
say XHTML 2.0 is wise to do what it's done. Other languages can be
entirely structural at their expense; XHTML 2.0 needs to be great, but
it also needs to be useful. Going from great to perfect would kill
XHTML 2.0's usefulness. (Or maybe I'm horribly wrong. :)

> lead towards structure w/o thinking at the rendering, and it
> introduces an element called "line" (or "l" or whatever, what it
> represents *is* a line) ??? This is just crazy.

I don't think so. Using your reasoning, a p element is "crazy" because
it contains a paragraph. An l element contains a line of text; what's
wrong with that? How would you mark up the following poem without an l
element (or what element do you think would be more structurally
appropriate, if you had to make one up)?

<l>Marylyn and Sallee,</l>
<l>Those are the girls for me.</l>
<l>Marylyn stands above</l>
<l>Sallee in that sweet, deep love.</l>

Today we'd need to use br; l is a huge improvement because it's more
precise (the element contains a line of text, instead of being an
empty element that "forces a line break," or whatever it is the br
element is). The l element is also easily styled *because* of the
meaning it imparts that the br element does not. Is it
"presentational"? I don't know, I'd need to think about it more. But
it doesn't matter; either way, it belongs in XHTML. Sub and sup are
entirely presentational and yet still useful (and definitely not
meaningless). If we toss the l, sub, and sup elements, we'd need to
use span elements and classes instead--which do you think is worse?

PS: I am completely behind the l element keeping its short name. So
long as the spec is clear, and it is, there should be no confusion.
Further, there are speed advantages for hand authors and size
advantages, which are especially remarkable with heavy l/line element
usage. I find it highly unlikely that someone reading the spec,
viewing source, or otherwise encountering the l element would assume
(from correct usage) that it is the old i element. The two elements
would almost never be used in the same situations, for one, so someone
familiar with the i element would know something was up right away.
And if they aren't familiar with the i element, there would be no
confusion of the l element for the i element, and thus the point is
moot. Further, all it takes is one simple sentence to enlighten anyone
familiar with older versions of HTML: "The l element is a line of
text." or "The <l> and </l> tags contain a line of text."

Received on Thursday, 26 December 2002 07:09:57 UTC

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