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Re: Alternate syntax for defining class attribute

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Fri, 14 Aug 2009 23:14:19 +0000 (UTC)
To: "T.J. Crowder" <tj@crowdersoftware.com>, Max Romantschuk <max@romantschuk.fi>, Ryan Roberts <hello@ryanroberts.co.uk>
Cc: public-html-comments@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.62.0908142310430.6420@hixie.dreamhostps.com>
On Sun, 9 Aug 2009, T.J. Crowder wrote:
> First off, thank you for all of your work hammering out HTML5. Greatly 
> appreciated!


> I have a suggestion which may be too late for HTML5 or not in keeping 
> with the philosophy, but I'll give it a go:
> We use the class attribute a *lot*.  To save our poor fingers, not to 
> mention reduce document sizes, would it be possible to introduce an 
> alternate syntax for simple situations (one class) mirroring the basic 
> CSS class selector syntax?  E.g., this:
>     <div class='nifty'>nifty stuff here</div>
> becomes
>     <div.nifty>nifty stuff here</div>
> Seems to me this is easily parsed and not a significant burden to 
> implementors, whereas I think most authors would be thrilled to have the 
> syntax line up with CSS and to stop typing "class='" all over the place.

We've looked at doing this before, but it has a very poor backwards- 
compatibility story, unfortunately.

I would encourage you to find ways to avoid using class attributes, e.g. 
by writing selectors that are based on the structure of the document. For 
example, instead of:

   <p class="firstp">...</p>

   p.firstp { ... }

...do something like:


   h1 + p { ... }

> Alternatively (no pun), a less easily-parsed version that doesn't seem 
> to break the small number of UAs I tried (all browsers: IE7, FF3, 
> Safari3win, Opera9, Chrome2) too badly is to allow whitespace between 
> the tag and the dot:
>     <div .nifty>nifty stuff here</div>
> Older browsers wouldn't see the class name, obviously, but they seem to 
> mostly ignore the invalid attribute.  I don't like this becaue it looks 
> like a parsing nightmare to me, although as I said, I'm not a parser 
> guy.

It wouldn't be that hard to parse, but it would only say you a 5 
keystrokes, and all the old browsers would miss the class attribute, so 
it's not really worth it, I think.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Friday, 14 August 2009 23:14:56 UTC

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