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Re: Key/Item data

From: John Lewis <lewi0371@mrs.umn.edu>
Date: Wed, 12 Mar 2003 15:18:57 -0600
Message-ID: <186152821837.20030312151857@cda.mrs.umn.edu>
To: www-html@w3.org

Philip wrote on Wednesday, March 12, 2003 at 5:42:02 AM:

> John Lewis wrote:
>> Philip wrote on Tuesday, March 11, 2003 at 10:52:31 AM:
>>> As you so rightly point out, definitions are just one possible
>>> instantiation of keyword-value pairs, and a generic markup
>>> language such as XHTML should surely contain generic tags rather
>>> than specific.
>> Why not clarify the definitions of dl, dt, and dd instead? There's
>> nothing wrong with the names of the elements.

> I can't see how you reach that conclusion, John; <DL>, <DT>, and
> <DD> are clearly mnemonic for "Definition list", "Definition term"
> and "Definition definition" (or "Definition data"). If we wish to
> use them for a more general purpose, such as any/all ordered pairs,
> then they should have equally general names, otherwise they are
> being abused.

I believe I arrived here quite simply. HTML/XHTML defines what the
elements mean. The names do not.

Would it be ever so slightly better to have better names? Yes. Would
it make a lick of difference? Yes. Authors of HTML/XHTML1 would have
to learn new element names instead of using the old ones, implementors
would presumably need to duplicate their default dl/dt/dd styling for
three identical but differently named elements, and authors (new and
old) would have the dubious benefit of a more appropriate element

Is it worth the trouble? I say absolutely not. There is no tangible
advantage to renaming dl/dt/dd. The name does not determine the
definition. I would agree with you if the names were too long or
extremely hard to type--but that clearly isn't the case. The spec
defines what the elements are. There's no need to expunge dl/dt/dd.

I think a clearly more beneficial course of action is to clarify that
dl/dt/dd are generic elements. The example in HTML4 implies that they
are, and a rewritten definition would make that implication explicit.

John Lewis
Received on Wednesday, 12 March 2003 16:19:19 UTC

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