W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > May 2004

Markup for emphasis and de-emphasis

From: Jukka K. Korpela <jkorpela@cs.tut.fi>
Date: Sun, 2 May 2004 22:24:19 +0300 (EEST)
To: www-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.GSO.4.58.0405022217590.21963@korppi.cs.tut.fi>

Recently, there was a longish thread on emphasis elements (the old issue
of em, strong, i, b) in news:comp.infosystems.www.authoring.html, with no
consensus as usual. I decided it's time to make a concrete proposal, so I
wrote http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/html/em.html which contains a fairly
long argument that ends with the following suggestions:

1) Define em as indicating its content as more important than the content
of the enclosing element.

2) Require that user agents render em element content as different from
the surrounding text, at least when em elements are not nested.

3) Define strong as indicating its content as a key word or phrase that is
descriptive of the content of the document. User agents would be
encouraged but not required to highlight such content.

4) Define the em attribute for block level elements, indicating level of
emphasis so that "0" (the default) indicates lack of any particular
emphasis, positive values indicate importance, and negative values
indicate that the content is less important than normal text.

Basically, <em> and <strong> are _different in essence_, not just
different levels of emphasis.

If continuity with HTML tradition is to be broken, the <strong> element
would best be renamed to <key> or <hilite>. Personally, I think there's
not enough novelty in the current XHTML 2.0 draft to justify breaking the

Jukka "Yucca" Korpela, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
Received on Sunday, 2 May 2004 15:24:22 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Wednesday, 7 January 2015 15:06:08 UTC