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Separating core elements from domain-specific (was : code, samp, kbd, var)

From: Philip Taylor (Webmaster) <P.Taylor@Rhul.Ac.Uk>
Date: Mon, 14 May 2007 17:23:37 +0100
Message-ID: <46488D09.3000502@Rhul.Ac.Uk>
To: www-html@w3.org



Lachlan Hunt wrote:
> Philip Taylor (Webmaster) wrote:
>> Lachlan Hunt wrote:
>>> Dropping them would would cost more than keeping them...
>>
>> I think that in order to make an informed decision on whether or not
>> to add <code>, <var>, <samp> and <kbd> (you can't speak of "dropping"
>> them, since you have already told us that "[HTML5] started with a clean
>> slate"),
> 
> yeah, started with, it's not any more.  Since they're already in the 
> spec, they would need to be dropped at this point, as opposed to not 
> being added in the first place, though I think they should stay.

But "dropping them" in this context would cost nothing; "dropping them"
from a putative HTML 5 is not the same as "dropping them" in real life.

> Well, you try explaining to everyone why they can no longer use these 
> elements that have worked, and will continue to work, but instead have 
> to use a yet to be defined extension, which isn't backwards compatible.

I think it /could/ be backwards-compatible (at everything except
pure source code level).  Imagine an HTML that consisted only of
those elements that we can be certain are required by virtually
all classes of document : <html>, <head>, <title>, <script>, <style>,
<meta>, <link>, <body>, <p>, <h$n$>, <ol>, <ul>, <li>, <a>, <img>,
<object>, <table>, <div> and <span> (there may be others, but this
suggestion is about concepts rather than detail).  And suppose that
there were a mechanism by which additional elements could be used,
so long as a suitable definition thereof was provided, using (say)
	
	<link rel="HTML-Dialect" href="wherever">

Then, if a particular author needed <var>, <code>, <samp> and <kbd>,
and if these were provided by (say)

	http://www.whatwg.org/html/dialects/informatics

then all he/she would need to do to an existing document would
be to add one line to his/her source code :

	<link rel="HTML-Dialect" href="http://www.whatwg.org/html/dialects/informatics">

Obviously, since a document can actually span two or more universes of discourse,
multiple <link>s of rel "HTML-Dialect" would be permitted.

The end result would be that HTML 5 could be the lean, mean, clean language
that T V Raman, Tina Holmboe, and many others including myself are arguing
for, and an HTML-Dialect package such as "Typographic-features" could add
back in optional features such as <b>, <i>, <s>, and even <blink>.

If we /could/ move in this direction, I think that the WHATWG would find
that a great deal of the present resistance to their proposals would
disappear ...

Philip Taylor
Received on Monday, 14 May 2007 16:23:37 GMT

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