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Re: Comments on the XHTML 2.0 WD

From: Jukka K. Korpela <jkorpela@cs.tut.fi>
Date: Fri, 27 May 2005 00:40:55 +0300 (EEST)
To: www-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.GSO.4.58.0505270020030.9224@korppi.cs.tut.fi>

On Thu, 26 May 2005, Laurens Holst wrote:

> > (dt, dd)+
>
> I think (hope) this is intentional. This is also the case in HTML 4.

I think (fear) that the muddy semantics is intentional too; in HTML 4 it
may still have been an accident. Call it a duck, name it duck, and then
tell it can be used as a cow. So much for semantics. That is, it is
called a definition list, explained as a definition list, and the tag
names reflect this, and then we have the final statement, which tells that
it was all a joke and we just have some tags that can be used whenever you
wish to achieve some particular layout:

"Another application of dl, for example, is for marking up dialogues, with
each dt naming a speaker, and each dd containing his or her words."

Another application of a duck is for milking...

At least it should be named "description list", with subelements called
"item" and "description" for example. It is absurd to say that <dt> means
definition term and then tell people to use it to name a speaker.

Another approach would be to remove the <dl> element entirely, admitting
that there are things for which there is no adequate markup yet, such as
definitions and dialogues. The common use of <dl> for lists of short items
followed by annotations can be handled either by using a general list
construct and (for example) a heading and a paragraph inside each list, or
by using a two-column table, perhaps styled in a non-tabular presentation.

What puzzles me is that the XHTML 2.0 draft preserves so many ill-designed
features, including bad element names, from HTML 4, yet manages to break
compatibility with it.

-- 
Jukka "Yucca" Korpela, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
Received on Thursday, 26 May 2005 21:40:59 UTC

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