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Re: [XHTML 2] removal of navigation list element

From: Laurens Holst <lholst@students.cs.uu.nl>
Date: Mon, 30 May 2005 20:52:49 +0200
Message-ID: <429B6101.7030402@students.cs.uu.nl>
To: Anne van Kesteren <fora@annevankesteren.nl>
Cc: www-html@w3.org

Anne van Kesteren wrote:
> An obvious example would be xhtml:var. Relatively compared I guess
> its usage on the web is 0%.

Actually, Ian told me he used it quite often :). I’ve personally used it 
a couple of times as well, but I agree it is a seldom-used element. A 
<date> element would be used much more often (but then again, there is 
no specific typographic representation for a date). In any case, var is 
in HTML since ages, which is probably why they retained it - had HTML 
been designed now, I don’t think they would have added it - or perhaps 
they would.

> Although I heard he's a great speaker, the specification matters, not
> what people say about it.

I think what people who were involved in the creation of a specification 
say can be very interesting, and can provide some useful insight in why 
things were done like they were :).

> I'm not sure if I'd agree with that. Perhaps I should have used
> xhtml2:div instead of xhtml2:p though, as it's not really a paragraph
> of text.

Or html5:p, of course. But I don’t think there’s really something to 
‘agree’ with. Whether a list of items belongs in a paragraph is really 
pretty vague, yet people are doing that and both specifications (XHTML 
2.0 and ‘HTML 5’) are allowing it.

With regard to using div - I think that’s really a last resort container 
:), and definately not for something as common as a short description in 
front of a list (I’d personally call it a label). I guess the list-in-p 
is appropriate, although not in HTML 4.

>> <dl>
>>   <dt href="tiger.php">Tiger Hash implementation for Z80</dt>
>>   <dd>Just a quick and nice side-project to see how well MSX could 
>> handle the supposedly well-scalable 64-bit Tiger hash algorithm. DOS 2 
>> executable and sources included.</dd>
>> </dt>
> I think this is incorrect usage of the DL element that has existed for 
> some time now on the web. Apparently XHTML 2 didn't redefine DL to be a 
> more generic element so I'd consider this particular example to be non 
> conforming.

I’m defining the contents of one of my specific projects, where the 
definition term links to the project page.

Q: What is the Tiger Hash implementation for Z80?
A: A quick and nice side-project to see how well MSX could handle the 
supposedly well-scalable 64-bit Tiger hash algorithm. DOS 2 executable 
and sources included.

Sound allright to me.

For a specification which also allows definition lists to be used for 
marking up dialogues (whether you like it or not), I’d say this usage is 
definitely not non conforming. Doing away with this issue as 
non-conforming sounds a bit like a cop-out to me :).

Aside from me thinking this is pretty nice usage of the <dl> element, 
why could navigation links not have descriptions with them, and if they 
do (e.g. by ‘extending’ -ahem- the DL element to fit this case or by 
introducing a new element similar to DL), if you go the route of <nl> 
elements, why shouldn’t there be a <ndl> as well?

> Are you suggesting that everything that is a link should have a
> |role="navigation"| applied to it or should be inside an element that
> has that applied to it?

No, otherwise each hyperlink would qualify as navigation. We are talking 
about a navigation section of the document here, which should be marked 
up as navigation. I don’t see the need for in addition to that, also 
mark up the list inside which contains part of the navigation as 
navigation as well.

I don’t think a ‘navigation list’ as a separate element will work 
(style/behavior) any different from a regular list when either inside or 
outside a section with the role ‘navigation’, which would be the only 
thing that would perhaps convince me that a separate element for it 
would be justified. If you have multiple lists in your navigation 
section, of which you want to style one differently from another, just 
give it a class.

> I think it should be defined in such a way that |role="navigation"|
> denotes the area of navigation and that NL contains the "navigation
> bar".

...perhaps. But I’m not convinced :). I’ll leave it up to the HTML WG to 

> The LABEL element is merely a title for
> the list. Your example would therefore be non-conformant I guess as
> this is not really a title.

Make it <label>Various sections of this site</label> then. Pfft, it’s 
not as if a single word can make it non-conformant. This isn’t exact 


Ushiko-san! Kimi wa doushite, Ushiko-san!!
Laurens Holst, student, university of Utrecht, the Netherlands.
Website: www.grauw.nl. Backbase employee; www.backbase.com.
Received on Monday, 30 May 2005 18:52:50 UTC

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