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Re: Restructuring the Ordered List

From: Lachlan Hunt <lachlan.hunt@iinet.net.au>
Date: Thu, 25 Mar 2004 22:51:57 +1100
Message-ID: <4062C7DD.2080003@iinet.net.au>
To: Lenny Domnitser <ldrhcp87@yahoo.com>
Cc: www-html@w3.org

Lenny Domnitser wrote:
> In the latest strict versions of HTML, the `ol` element
> has no `start` attribute. The removal of this attribute
> breaks core functionality of ordered lists.
> The CSS alternative is a complicated counter-based
> solution that is poorly supported by browsers.
> However, even if browsers properly supported CSS counters,
> a structural part of the list is being deprecated.
> Imagine using a non-CSS browser and instead of
>     I. First Section
>        a. sub-section
>        b. yet another
>     an interrupting paragraph
>        c. some more
>     II. foo
>        a. bar

   You do have a good point here, but I don't think the start attribute 
is a good way to handle this.  What I think you are getting at is that 
it is semantically important that a list may be related to a previous list.
   One problem with start is that if an item is inserted in a previous 
list, then the value of the start attribute would need to be updated.

   What may be needed is a way to link the lists together semantically. 
  Perhaps a boolean continue attribute that means this lists continues 
the previous list, or (probably better) an attribute with an ID REF, 
referencing a previous list.

> Also note that, although slightly less important
> than `start`, `type` is also semantic.
> Suggesting that list indices should be generated by
> CSS is like creating the entire body of a page by
> CSS's `content` property: a poorly supported
> non-semantic solution that is pushed by the same
> zealots that removed `target` from `a`.

   The semantics of an <ol> is that the order of the items is important. 
  The way in which the order is presented is irrelevant, which is why 
type was deprecated.  According to the HTML 4.01 spec This attribute 
sets the style of a list item.  It's possible values include arabic 
numbers, lower alpha, upper alpha, lower roman and upper roman.  Note 
that all these suggest is the type of numbering system to use when 
presenting the list visually, they do not affect the order of the list 
in anyway.

> At the very least, `start` should be returned,
> however, there are still many properties of ordered
> lists in HTML that make it very inflexible. For
> example, suppose David Letterman wanted to create
> a website for his famous "top ten" lists. For those
> of you unfamiliar with Letterman, "top ten" is an
> inane countdown that is presented with the tenth item
> first and the first item tenth.

   Hmm, maybe, though I don't believe it is semantically important 
whether the list is presented as a count-up or count-down list, but I'm 
sure this is debatable.

Lachlan Hunt
Received on Thursday, 25 March 2004 07:12:44 UTC

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