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Re: Cleaning House

From: Tina Holmboe <tina@greytower.co.uk>
Date: Sat, 5 May 2007 17:35:05 +0200
To: Murray Maloney <murray@muzmo.com>
Cc: Tina Holmboe <tina@greytower.co.uk>, www-html@w3.org, public-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <20070505153505.GA23727@greytower.net>

On Sat, May 05, 2007 at 09:10:19AM -0400, Murray Maloney wrote:

> Dear Tina (and everyone else who doesn't quite get this...),

  All right. Let's try this one more time? 


> The semantics* of <i> is emphasise with italic typeface.
> The semantics* of <em> is emphasise, probably with italics

  The I-element was introduced in HTML 2.0, and defined as
  follows:

     "The <I> element indicates italic text."

  This was reconfirmed in HTML 3.2, and in addition the
  element was moved from the "Typographic Elements" section and
  into "Font style". In HTML 4.0 and 4.01 the same is
  true: the definition of <i> remain the same.

  It is worth noting that in all three DTDs the I-element
  is firmly placed in the %font entity. We can conclude
  that it was and is meant to /change the font style to
  italics/.

  There is, for all the arguments tossed at it, no semantic
  interpretation defined /anywhere/.

  The EM-element, however, is different. It too was introduced
  in HTML 2.0 under the section "Idiomatic Elements", and
  defined as

     "The <EM> element indicates an emphasized phrase ... "

  This definition was reconfirmed in HTML 3.2 - with the
  modifier "basic" added to "emphasis" - and again in 
  HTML 4.0 and 4.01.

  Again we can conclude something regarding this element: it
  is meant to convey /meaning/, not style, despite the way
  it is commonly rendered in a graphical UA.


  All of this has, in the end, only one important lesson to
  teach: IF a claim is made that authors don't care about
  semantic HTML - and evidence overwhelmingly suggest that
  they did in the past not give a damn - then it is both
  illogical and silly to claim that they have somehow
  magically used <i> in a semantic fashion.

  If, on the other hand, you claim authors HAVE cared about
  semantics, then removing the I-element is the only
  logical way to go, as it is /by definition/ a
  font-style element and /nothing else/.

  We can discuss this until we turn a pretty smurf
  blue, but the FACT remain: the I-element is today,
  and has always been, defined as a /stylistic/ element,
  predictably used /exactly/ that way by authors in
  the past - and today.

  I spend enough time analyzing crap markup to make
  THAT statement with confidence.



> Additional semantics may be layered upon these elements by employing CLASS
> attribute values. Such semantics may be interpreted by CSS or XSL 

  Not in HTML, no.


--
 -     Tina Holmboe                    Greytower Technologies (UK) Ltd.
   tina@greytower.co.uk                  http://www.greytower.co.uk
     +46 708 557 905
Received on Saturday, 5 May 2007 15:35:17 GMT

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