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Re: XHTML 2.0: Suggestion for <addr/> and <blockaddr/> to replace <address/>

From: Jukka K. Korpela <jkorpela@cs.tut.fi>
Date: Tue, 9 Dec 2003 20:54:12 +0200 (EET)
To: www-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.GSO.4.58.0312092039020.8536@korppi.cs.tut.fi>

On Sat, 6 Dec 2003, Lachlan Hunt wrote:

>   I have to disagree with this idea that a block element is
> fundamentally presentational.

As so often, it is illustrating to answer: how does that work in aural
presentation? That is, is there any natural presentation of that
distinction in speech? I would answer "no".

_Sections_ in a long document (corresponding to sections in books) are
naturally rendered with long pauses between them, and it would make sense
to even announce "Next section". But it would be unnatural to do that for
any block element.

> Of course, those of you who are
> visually impared may percieve the structure in other ways.  eg. aurally
> by, perhaps, a longer pause between paragraphs, and other sections.

Between paragraphs and sections, yes. But they are logical, semantically
relevant concepts, whereas "block" is an abstract concept that ultimately
turns into a rectangle.

>   What? Presentational Semantics?

Exactly. When I _discuss_ some text that appears in bold face, then my
saying that it appears in bold face is something meaningful and carries a
relationship with objective reality. It's completely different to say
"the word 'foo' appears in bold face in this manuscript" (perhaps followed
by "I wonder what the author wants to say by that") than to say
"in this text of mine, 'foo' is very important".

> When someone reads something in bold, it suggests the
> semantics of being important enough to be stongly empahsised, which is
> why <b> has no real semantics, but <strong> does.

When reading something in print, or on screen, we might not _know_ what
the purpose of bolding is.

> Rectangular boxes cannot be shown to a visually impaired person, however
> sections can be through,

Indeed. So blocks are presentation, sections are structure.

>   The distinction between <ol> an <ul> is not just presentational.

I've called it "semi-presentational".

> For example the following lists only really make semantic sense as an
> unordered list, or ordered list respectively:
> <p>When I go shopping, I need to buy
>     <ul>
>         <li>Bread</li>
>         <li>Milk</li>
>         <li>Cheese</li>
>     </ul>
> </p>
> (This could, admittidly, also be ordered, however it doesn't really
> matter whether bread is bought before milk or not)

Indeed. We often number things just for convenience, or for reference. You
remember the Futurological Conference by Lem? :-)

> <p>When washing your hair
>     <ol>
>         <li>Lather with shampoo</li>
>         <li>Rinse</li>
>         <li>Repeat as needed</li>
>     </ol>
> </p>
> (In this one, an <ul> would be inappropriate because, presumeably, you
> should rinse before lathering.)

It wouldn't be inappropriate, just slightly inferior. After all, nobody
has ever suggested that browsers would have the liberty of presenting the
items in a <ul> list in any order - but it would be logical to say if we
really though that <ul> means 'unordered'. In practice, it means
'unnumbered'.

-- 
Jukka "Yucca" Korpela, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
Received on Tuesday, 9 December 2003 13:56:53 GMT

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