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ol, ul, nl, dl, oh my! (was Re: [XHTML 2] removal of navigation list element)

From: Edward Lass <elass@goer.state.ny.us>
Date: Wed, 01 Jun 2005 10:36:46 -0400
Message-Id: <s29d8fd9.014@mail.goer.state.ny.us>
To: <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>,<www-html@w3.org>

The 2.0 WD says, "Both types of lists [ol and ul] are made up of
sequences of list items defined by the li element."  This is true in
HTML 4.01 too: "Both types of lists are made up of sequences of list
items defined by the LI element (whose end tag may be omitted)."

So unordered lists are definitely still sequential. The same would be
true for navigational lists, certainly.

That's reassuring to me. My office sometimes produces guidelines for
government programs - semi-legal documents - and we're certainly not
saying that the sequence (ordering?) is unimportant when we use
unordered lists.

But the distinction between ol and ul is NOT just presentation. It's a
content difference. The numbers/letters and bullets are part of our
content. The sequence of our entire document (lists and otherwise) is a
matter of content. We're just using (X)HTML to mark it up more
semantically. (Does this remind anyone of the lightweight separator
discussion? Using markup as a semantic cue for content?)

Given all of this, navigation lists are a great idea. I think some
people look at ul and ol, then at nl, and see apples and oranges. Maybe
the first two being a matter of theory and the last a matter of
function? But all three share the same theory: they're all sequential
lists. The distinction between each is a matter of function.

- Ed.

>>> David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk> 5/31/2005 4:38:24 PM >>>

> Navigation lists are definitely ordered.  "Collection" in this
context 

Why?  I would have said they were unordered in the sense normally used
in
HTML.  I would suggest that any reliance on ordering indicates the
presence
of undeclared groupings.



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