W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > June 2005

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

From: Shane McCarron <shane@aptest.com>
Date: Wed, 01 Jun 2005 12:51:14 -0500
Message-ID: <429DF592.8010407@aptest.com>
To: "Jukka K. Korpela" <jkorpela@cs.tut.fi>
CC: www-html@w3.org

Jukka K. Korpela wrote:

>On Wed, 1 Jun 2005, Shane McCarron wrote:
>>Remember that, to some extent, there is a large user base that we need
>>to take care of here. We don't want to start changing the names of
>>commonly used elements or attributes without some compelling reason.
>XHTML 2.0 is by design incompatible with previous versions of HTML.
>I think that's a wrong move, but as long as that's the policy, I see
>little reason to preserve poorly designed elements.
While it is incompatible, it is not *arbitrarily* incompatible, if you 
see what I mean.  For example, we could have easily gotten rid of the 
"a" and "img" elements, but we have not because people like and use 
them.  These types of lists are in common use, and have different 
default presentation.  Since CSS support is not required, we cannot 
eliminate one type of list and say "use CSS to style these items how you 
want".  It wouldn't be portable.

>>Also, this is really about the semantics, not the presentation.  If you
>>put stuff in an "ol" list you are saying "the order of these items is
>>important, and likely critical to understanding the information".
>No, I'm not. It's just explicit numbering. I want to make some points, and
>I number them, for example in order to refer them elsewhere in the
>document, or outside it.
That's another use case, sure. 

>>you put stuff in a "ul" list, you are saying "the order of this stuff is
>>what I used when writing the document, but the order is not critical to
>>understanding the information".  At least, that is how I think it should
>>be interpreted.
>Does that apply to a sequence of paragraphs, too? If the order of <li>
>elements does not matter (when they appear as subelements of <ul>), why
>would the mutual order of other elements matter?
>It's still a _list_. Not a collection or set of items.
True.  Whereas the paragraphs in a document are not a list.  Reordering 
those arbitrarily would violate the "principle of least surprise".  
Reordering the items in a UL so that they are shortest first or 
something would be a nice transformation on the data, and as an author I 
personally wouldn't really mind. 

If what you are saying is that you really think that the contents are 
ordered and should be required to be presented that way by default... I 
would probably agree. 

Shane P. McCarron                          Phone: +1 763 786-8160 x120
Managing Director                            Fax: +1 763 786-8180
ApTest Minnesota                            Inet: shane@aptest.com
Received on Wednesday, 1 June 2005 17:51:22 UTC

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