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Re: Structure vs Semantics

From: Ernest Cline <ernestcline@mindspring.com>
Date: Wed, 10 Dec 2003 13:52:44 -0500
Message-ID: <410-2200312310185244250@mindspring.com>
To: "Chris Mannall" <chris.mannall@hecubagames.com>, www-html@w3.org

> [Original Message]
> From: Chris Mannall <chris.mannall@hecubagames.com>
> To: <www-html@w3.org>
> Cc: <ernestcline@mindspring.com>
> Date: 12/10/2003 11:38:50 AM
> Subject: Re: Structure vs Semantics
> Ernest Cline wrote:
> > In the root post of this thread, Lachlan proposed consolidating
> > <quote> and <blockquote> and other such pairs of semantic
> > elements into single elements which could be used in either
> > the Block or the Inline context. This is what I was referring to.
> > 
> > In <div><quote><p/></quote></div>, the quote element
> > here is clearly intended to be block.  Given the current
> > state of CSS, this would force CSS to use a default value
> > of the display property of <quote> to be block, as it is unable
> > to adjust the properties of an element based on its children.
> > Even if were able to, then in the case of <div><quote/></div>
> > It would be unable to tell whether that quote element
> > is supposed to be block or inline, and at least in the case
> > of a quote, a block quote has a degree of emphasis
> > over an inline quote.
> I'm not sure I agree with this - I think you're looking at it from the 
> wrong direction. A "block" quote can be defined not only by what it 
> contains (which, as you say, can't be represented by a CSS selector), 
> but also by what it is contained by.  An "inline" q element would tend 
> to be a descendent of a p element; a "block" q element would not. This 
> would seem to be handled by the following CSS rules:
> q { display:block; }
> p q { display:inline; }
> > I feel that the distinction between block and inline is
> > fundamental enough that to force styling to be provided
> > to make the distinction is not a good idea.

Yes and no.  While the tendency is for quotes in a paragraph to be
inline, they can be block which is one reason the current draft makes
the needed improvement of adding blockquote to the content model
of p.  And for div we have  in my opinion a roughly equal expectation
of encountering either block or inline quotes. 

OTOH,  as far as a blockquote inside a paragraph is concerned,
the block nature there is largely a matter of presentation save for
one critical distinction: the punctuation characters used differ in the
two contexts. (at least in English they do)  If we leave the block/inline
distinction to styling, we'll have to revert to having UA's adding
appropriate quotation marks as per the <q> element instead of
adopting the simpler handling of the proposed <quote>.  Or perhaps
add a <qc> element to the content model of <quote> so that the user
agent can display the quote character in an inline context and
not display it in a block context much as the <rp> element
provides optionally used parenthesis for Ruby text for when
the Ruby text cannot be placed in its ruby position. Getting <qc> to
handle nested quotes correctly would be a problem tho.

If for example we had

How do we get a user agent to correctly display double quotes
instead of single quotes for the inner quote when the outer quote
is displayed as a block quote and thus would not use its double
quotes?  Even with styling, this isn't simple to do generically,
particularly if the inner quote could be embedded inside
another element such as <em>.
Received on Wednesday, 10 December 2003 13:52:54 UTC

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