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Re: Tree presented lists (was: Suggestion)

From: Boris Zbarsky <bzbarsky@MIT.EDU>
Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2001 23:52:57 -0400
Message-Id: <200107200352.XAA14440@nerd-xing.mit.edu>
To: "Daniel Hiester" <alatus@earthlink.net>
cc: "www-html" <www-html@w3.org>, www-style@w3.org
> That's the idea. The only different between an ordered an unordered list
> really is a presentational matter.

No.  The difference is a logical matter.  An unordered list is
unordered.  Changing the order of the items will not change the meaning
of the content.  An ordered list is ordered.  Changing the order of the
items will change the meaning of the content.

Even if no stylesheet is applied, the two types of content are very
different.

> If you specify the style in the stylesheet, you can make an UL appear
> the same way as an OL, in theory.

You can.  That would be incredibly misleading since it would imply a
different logical structure to the list than what really exists.

> unless their document simply has no presentational markup in it
> at all, and looks like an html document circa 1993.

Which is a perfecty valid thing for a document to do.  If you're just
trying to get information across, relying solely on logical markup and
the ability of the useragent to display that markup in a way that makes
sense to the user is definitely the way to go.

While it's true that a single list element could be used and "styled as
needed" to cover OL and UL, DL would not fall into that category easily
(since in a DL each list item has _two_ pieces of data associated with
it).  Furthermore, you seem to be completely ignoring non-visual
useragents unless you meant to provide stylesheets for all media with
every page that has a list.

The point of non-presentational markup is that it defines a logical
structure to the document such that a stylesheet can then be applied to
present that logical structure to the user in some way.  Lists are just
such non-presentational markup, so their definition (unlike their
rendering) really cannot be moved into stylesheets.

Boris
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                                     -- Niels Bohr
Received on Thursday, 19 July 2001 23:52:59 GMT

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