W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > December 2009

Bug 8404 -- taking it to the lists

From: Shelley Powers <shelley.just@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 1 Dec 2009 08:03:33 -0600
Message-ID: <643cc0270912010603t42ae72f4k581471f3e53bcb3a@mail.gmail.com>
To: HTMLWG WG <public-html@w3.org>
Bug 8404 reads as follows:

Currently the HTML5 specification has an overly broad definition about what can
be allowed in a figure element:

"The element can thus be used to annotate illustrations, diagrams, photos, code
listings, etc, that are referred to from the main content of the document, but
that could, without affecting the flow of the document, be moved away from that
primary content, e.g. to the side of the page, to dedicated pages, or to an

This is counter to understandings about figure in other businesses and
environments, where figures are a graphic of some form. In addition, this
provides a confusing parallel in functionality between figure and aside, enough
so that people are going to have a difficult time knowing which is which, and
when to use one over the other. In fact, with this parallelism, we don't need

All assumptions I have read on figure is people assume the element will contain
a reference to an image of some form and a caption. Yet caption is optional,
and it sounds like anything can be included in figure. Your examples show a
poem, a code block, in addition to an image.

The figure element either should be pulled completely, in favor of the aside
element, or it needs to have a tighter focus in its definition. It should
consist of a graphic element, which could be an svg element, a mathml element,
an img, an object, or, possibly, a video. It should then have one other
element, which will be the caption. Since this element won't be a svg, mathml,
img, object, or video element, it could be anything, including just a regular
paragraph. In fact, a regular element styled using CSS would be the best

This change would remove any confusion about this element, and there will be
confusion. It would also eliminate the problem with having to create a special
caption element, just for figure, as discussed in Issue 83.


After comments regarding ASCII art, I also added pre as an allowable
graphics element.

I've been told to take this bug to the lists for discussion. Here it is.

I stand by the wording in this bug. I think that in HTML5, we should
restrict the elements allowed in figure to those that are purely
illustrative in nature, rather than allowing any form of HTML, and
that includes tables. By restricting the types of elements allowed, we
remove the need to repurpose dt/dd in figure, without having to add a
new element.

Others disagree. We will see if the editor agrees or not. If he
doesn't agree with me, and marks this as WONTFIX, then I'll write a
more formal change proposal, or I'll pursue a different bug, such as
to remove figure altogether.

Received on Tuesday, 1 December 2009 14:04:17 UTC

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