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Re: <em><em><em>, degree of emphasis attribute?

From: John Lewis <lewi0371@mrs.umn.edu>
Date: Thu, 15 May 2003 16:57:19 -0500
Message-ID: <13551590853.20030515165719@cda.mrs.umn.edu>
To: www-html@w3.org

Simon wrote on Thursday, May 15, 2003 at 3:30:55 PM:

> Sigh. If we really have to get rid of <strong> (which I disagree
> with), then why don't we just use the existing class attribute?

The class attribute doesn't have any intrinsic meaning. For example, a
paragraph with a class attribute value of "verse" has no extra meaning
in (X)HTML. It has meaning to the author, it might have meaning to the
user, and it allows you to style a group of elements in an author
style sheet, but it doesn't have meaning in (X)HTML, nor can UA and
user style sheets interact unless everyone agrees to a set of class
attribute values and their meanings (or you get lucky). For a
replacement, at least the current functionality needs to be
maintained. The class attribute only captures part of the current
functionality, while a unique attribute could replace and extend it. A
new attribute with specific values also has the added benefit of
allowing powerful selectors in *user* style sheets (and UA style
sheets), something you can't currently do with the class attribute
except in author style sheets.

If the class attribute is deemed appropriate enough to differentiate
kinds of emphasis, you're basically saying that the difference is so
unimportant that it can be discarded (something many people plainly
disagree with; I'm not sure I do). However, there are advantages to
defining everything explicitly, and a new attribute addresses the
needs of those who want to differentiate between normal and strong
emphasis (as well as allowing new types of emphasis without adding a
new element for each one). The only similar concept I can think of is
the rel attribute in (X)HTML.

> As I indicated in an earlier post, however, I do think there is a
> case for <strong> to remain. In the future, the structural elements
> of a web document may be used to describe all manner of
> environments. A <strong> element might be used to indicate a
> powerful smell, for example. An <em> element might be used to
> indicate a physical texture.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean about smells or textures (or
how it relates). Could you explain this a little?

John Lewis
Received on Thursday, 15 May 2003 18:02:42 UTC

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