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[Bug 7657] New: Redefining dt and dd

From: <bugzilla@wiggum.w3.org>
Date: Thu, 17 Sep 2009 02:40:01 +0000
To: public-html-bugzilla@w3.org
Message-ID: <bug-7657-2486@http.www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/>

           Summary: Redefining dt and dd
           Product: HTML WG
           Version: unspecified
          Platform: Macintosh
        OS/Version: Mac System 9.x
            Status: NEW
          Severity: normal
          Priority: P2
         Component: HTML5 spec bugs
        AssignedTo: dave.null@w3.org
        ReportedBy: shelleyp@burningbird.net
         QAContact: public-html-bugzilla@w3.org
                CC: ian@hixie.ch, mike@w3.org, public-html@w3.org

The dt and dd elements were defined for use with a dl (Definition List) in HTML
4. In addition, the HTML 4 also recommended the use of the dl element, and dt
and dd for use in dialogue. The elements have had broad implementation. 

In HTML5, both elements have been redefined, in order to include them in both
the Figure element and the Details element. If elements maintained the same
semantics in both circumstances, such reuse might be more meaningful, but
they're not. As noted in the HTML5 specification, a dt element is the name of a
term, in dl, a caption, in Figure, and the summary in details. As another bug
notes (http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=7629), formatting doesn't
remain the same between uses either.

The same conflicting semantics applies to the dd element. It's defined as a
description or definition, in dl, as the "data" in a figure, and as details in
a details element.

In addition, you can have many sets of dt/dd within a dl element, which doesn't
make sense within a figure, or within details. Seemingly the only reason for
reuse is keyboard access, which is not a "semantic" choice, but a choice of

Though we want to avoid creating new elements, it's preferable to confusing the
semantics of an existing element, to the point where the use will more likely
cause confusion than not. People will look at how dt/dd are used in dl, and
assume the use can be the same for Figure, and Details, and vice versa. 

Other options should be explored for Figure and Details.

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Received on Thursday, 17 September 2009 02:40:09 UTC

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