W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > September 2006

Re: tags vs elements (was: Re: [ot] Re: [XHTML 2.0] Only one emphasis tag)

From: Mark Birbeck <mark.birbeck@x-port.net>
Date: Mon, 25 Sep 2006 17:14:57 +0100
Message-ID: <640dd5060609250914o36e6735ftcff6b4ad208c80b6@mail.gmail.com>
To: www-html@w3.org


> Tags are only relevant if you're discussing source code or authoring
> requirements. If you're explicitly talking about the "<p> element start
> tag" or something. Otherwise you should just refer to them as elements. As
> in: "The <i> element indicates italics."

Interesting...but why would you have the 'less-than' and
'greater-than' symbols there? That would mean that you are using a
start tag in ordinary prose, which doesn't seem right to me.
Alternatives would be:

  The 'i' element indicates italics.
  The <em>i</em> element indicates italics.
  The <code>i</code> element indicates italics.

When used in blogs or specifications I have always tended towards the
latter, but I've just realised that this is not actually consistent
with the way I write attributes! (See below :) As I write this I'm
starting to think that from the standpoint of writing 'English' then
either of the first two is actually better. If one was using the
'code' element then it probably should contain genuine mark-up, for
example around the first part of this sentence:

  <i>...</i> indicates italics.

Whatever approach is used, I think one of these alternatives is
preferable to using a 'floating' start tag with nothing around it, and
the word 'element' after.

I mentioned attributes above, and whilst we're on this subject we
might as throw them into the pot; you often see this in prose:

  The @class attribute is used for...

My feeling is that it should really be one of these:

  The 'class' attribute is used for...
  The <em>class</em> attribute is used for...
  <code>@class</code> is used for...

By leaving in the '@' it is no longer the 'name' of the attribute, and
it's back to being 'real' mark-up (or 'code').



Mark Birbeck
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Received on Monday, 25 September 2006 16:15:13 UTC

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