Re: definitions [was: closing on 2009-09-03]

On Thu, 27 Aug 2009, Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
> That is a good point. Furthermore, HTML5 says elements and attributes 
> have semantics: "Elements, attributes, and attribute values in HTML are 
> defined (by this specification) to have certain meanings 
> (semantics)."[1]
> HTML5 also requires that elements and attributes must be used consistent 
> with their semantics: "Authors must not use elements, attributes, and 
> attribute values for purposes other than their appropriate intended 
> semantic purpose."[1]
> It seems to me that semantics need to be defined at least for obsolete 
> but conforming elements and attributes.

This is already done for all the obsolete but conforming features as far 
as it makes sense as far as I can tell.

> They SHOULD not be used, but they also MUST NOT be used inconsistent 
> with their semantics. If they have no semantic meaning at all, then the 
> MUST NOT requirement doesn't apply, which seems silly.

There are several cases where this is the case -- e.g. border="0" has 
effectively no meaning. The attribute can be included, but only with that 
value, and that value has no effect in conforming UAs (it's the default, 
for rendering).

> For obsolete and nonconforming features, it may be a tenable position to 
> say they have no semantics at all, since they can't be used at all.


> But it seems that a semantic could be assigned for <a name>, and 
> arguably should, because it's inappropriate for authors to put random 
> values in there that are unrelated to its purpose, just as much as is 
> the case for id.

Could you give an example of a case that you think should be 
non-conforming in this manner for name=""? Maybe that would help me 
determine what the spec should say.

Note that for ID it doesn't say anything normative about the semantics of 
id="" for authoring purposes -- in fact, it's much the same as with <a 
name>. There's some fluffy (non-normative) introductory text, just as <a 
name> has (in the latter case, saying what the purpose in older versions 
of the spec was), but there's no normative text defining authoring 
semantics. Nor do I think there should be, or know what it would be.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

Received on Thursday, 27 August 2009 22:46:35 UTC