W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > April 2003

Re: 'email' element type

From: Jim Dabell <jim-www-html@jimdabell.com>
Date: Tue, 8 Apr 2003 17:36:51 +0100
To: www-html@w3.org
Message-Id: <200304081736.51106.jim-www-html@jimdabell.com>

On Tuesday 08 Apr 2003 2:19 pm, Matt Fletcher wrote:
> <email> sounds like a great idea. Redundant
> maybe, but useful, hell yeah!

I don't consider it to be redundant. mailto hrefs are behavioural, an 
<email> element is also informational.  If we take spambots as an example 
(I don't like them, but they are widespread user agents), parsing all the 
hrefs for mailtos is a hack compared with just taking the <email> elements.

There is some functionality that is lost by simply using an <email> element 
without an href attribute.  You can't specify a subject, for example.  This 
can be countered by using an href attribute on the <email> element for 
those situations, or perhaps just a subject attribute.

There is also functionality that can be added.  For example, I find it 
highly annoying to click on a link to email somebody, and come back a day 
later to find a bounce, letting me know that the person had obfuscated 
their email address (I don't always check, I don't feel I should anyway).  
If it were possible to mark up email addresses to let user-agents know that 
the contained address is obfuscated (e.g. obfuscated="true"), then my mail 
client could pop up a warning before sending.

> (Who thought of it by the way, the xhtml2
> proposal or someone on this list? I never spotted
> it before)

It's not part of the XHTML2 draft, and I've not seen it mentioned before, 
but I very much doubt I am the first person to think of it.

An abbreviation to <@> would be nice, but would be awkward when using CSS.

I agree with Kevin - if any element can be a link now, is there any 
justification for keeping the <a> element as a "special" link container?

A <uri> element is also an interesting idea, but I don't feel it would be as 
functional as an <email> attribute for many uses (e.g. the obfuscated 
attribute mentioned above).

What is the position of the WG regarding new elements for XHTML 2?  I 
understand XHTML is not meant to be the mother of all markup languages, but 
it seems to me that there are plenty of elements that would get fairly 
widespread usage, and would be more useful than <var>, <samp>, etc.  At the 
moment, XHTML 2 seems lopsided.  For example, there are plenty of documents 
out there that talk about people - given a large number of documents that 
use a <person> element, a search engine could figure out who is connected 
to a specific person.  It would also be a handy container for links to a 
person's website.

Jim Dabell
Received on Tuesday, 8 April 2003 12:37:55 UTC

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