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Re: XHTML2 dt/dd Nesting

From: Stefan Ram <ram@ZEDAT.FU-Berlin.DE>
Date: Sat, 15 Nov 2003 19:24:04 +0100
To: W3C HTML List <www-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <20031115182404.GA90514460@CIS.FU-Berlin.DE>

Ernest Cline wrote:
><di>
>I'll admit to a certain bias in favor of this form as I proposed it.

  I understand that this is meant to appear within
  a dl element. This still implies that a definition
  makes sense only as part of a list of definitions.
  I see no reason for this restriction.

  Element types of XHTML(n) should be based on two design
  principles:

  - The space of all possible text types occurring in XHTML
    use cases (like definitions, headings, or acronyms) is 
    divided into several subspaces.

    This division might be very coarse, but it must cover
    the whole space.

    Each subspace corresponds to an XHTML element type.

    The user of XHTML then may subdivide any of theses 
    subdivisions further by using the attribute "class".

  - Element types can be combined to express text types,
    if appropriate, and therefore should be as orthogonal
    as possible.

    For example, if "cite" is a citation and "acronym" an
    acronym, then "<cite><acronym>...</acronym></cite>"
    cites an acronym.

  So, two things are wrong with "di" - or whatever it
  is called:

  - First, this only covers a special subdivision of text
    types, leaving other divisions completely uncovered, so
    that the user can not reach them by specializing
    the element type with a class-attribute.

    The more general text type here is a binary relation
    between two texts, like

      * a /term/ and its /definition/,

      * a /question/ and its /answer/ (as in an FAQ-list),

      * a /speaker/ and its /utterance/,

      * a /word/ and its /translation/.

    Thus, XHTML should offer a general element type for such
    a text pair, so that the user can specialize it to the
    grade of detail needed by a class attribute. A definition
    element then would be such a special case. XHTML also might
    include some special case element types (like definition
    element types), but there should still be a general
    text-pair element type, so that the user can use this
    if no more-special element type applies.

  - Second, "di" is based on the assumption, that a definition
    only makes sense as an /entry/ in a definition list. In math
    books and other text types this usually is not the case.

    XHTML should offer a general list container, so that the
    user can create a definition list in the most natural way:
    as a list of definitions, i.e., as an element of type "list"
    containing elements of type "definition" as direct sub elements.

    This general list container might even be the "ol" and "ul"
    element type. As of now, I can not tell, whether a
    definition list is ordered (a definition might refer to 
    preceding definitions) or unordered (each definition stands
    on its own). If one could use a general definition element
    within "ol" or "ul", even that distinction would become
    possible by combining "ol"/"ul" and such a definition element
    as a direct child.

http://purl.net/stefan_ram/
Received on Saturday, 15 November 2003 13:24:05 UTC

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