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

From: Daniel Glazman <daniel.glazman@disruptive-innovations.com>
Date: Thu, 02 Jun 2005 09:22:21 +0200
Message-ID: <429EB3AD.7060303@disruptive-innovations.com>
To: www-html@w3.org

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.

This argument is not acceptable, when we have have been hearing that
XHTML2 is explicitely not backwards-compatible for so many
years.

> 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".  If 
> 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.

A list is a list is a list. You are describing an intrinsic characteristic
of a list, not a major difference between two semantically different
elements. Why the hell should I have to change the element's type to indicate
that my list is or is not ordered?

About this same issue, that I submitted to html-editors some time ago, I
received the following answer:

    This issue was rejected because Renaming <ol> etc. to <list ordered="yes">
    does not introduce any new functionality, nor remove anything anybody has
    complained about. Changing <h1> etc to <h> does both.

I am sorry to say I find this answer plain ridiculous - and inaccurate.
Changing ol/ul to list will help web applications turn an unordered list into
an ordered one without altering the element's tree, only setting attributes.
(a) document authors have been complaining about that for ages, the problem
     already existed in some SGML dtds fifteen years ago!
(b) web applications authors need such a change, because it helps simplifying
     the back-end of web applications. From a webapp point of view, I call that
     a functionality.

About the existence of head and body in XHTML2, Steven answered to my question
in Amsterdam with "that's just a compromise". Hey, guys, compromises CAN be bad
too. Reaching the compromise is not the solution is that results in a terrible
counter-productive solution.

I am far from truth saying that I still don't understand how this Group
works. I tried, I really tried. But I can't.

</Daniel>
Received on Thursday, 2 June 2005 07:22:26 UTC

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