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

Re: Bug 8404 -- taking it to the lists

From: Shelley Powers <shelley.just@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 2 Dec 2009 09:56:57 -0600
Message-ID: <643cc0270912020756u14e5e9b4v70d2ab16ec9f40bf@mail.gmail.com>
To: Jeroen van der Gun <noreplytopreventspam@blijbol.nl>
Cc: public-html@w3.org
On Wed, Dec 2, 2009 at 9:33 AM, Jeroen van der Gun
<noreplytopreventspam@blijbol.nl> wrote:
> Whether something is being labeled as a figure in literature, does not
> matter. The figure element is for things that have the structure of a
> figure. The element could also be named the figurestructure element,
> but that would be long and annoying.

A figure in literature is a flat thing, with no meaning other than
what the context of the writing gives it.

So an illustrative figure of a table can be included as a figure, and
it doesn't matter. Well, other than you might be breaking style

But a web page is a different beastie. In a web page, a table is a
data table. Browsers and other user agents don't know that the table
is junk, or illustrative only. Browsers and web bots and other agents
don't know that the data in the table is illustrative only, and not

Figures in a book are illustrative, regardless of what they contain.
HTML tables are not illustrative, they are data tables.

We're just now getting people to stop abusing HTML tables for layout,
and now we want to encourage people to abuse HTML tables for
illustration purposes?

You all are taking someone from one medium and insisting it be treated
exactly the same in a completely different medium.

> Making the caption required seems fair enough to me. Agreed.
> Linking to a figure is easy, just use the id attribute. You don't need
> an a element to define an anchor. (If I remember correctly, the
> specification explicitly uses the same mechanism for linking to dfn
> elements.) Here's an example (I've also included a table (with a
> footnote) used as a figure):
> <figure id="firstemo">
> <dd><pre>:)</pre></dd>
> <dt>Figure 3. The first emoticon.</dt>
> </figure>
> <figure id="commonemos">
> <dd>
> <table>
> <thead>
> <tr><th>Emoticon</th><th>Frequency<a href="#personalusage">*</a></th></tr>
> </thead>
> <tbody>
> <tr><td><pre>:)</pre></td><td>138</td></tr>
> <tr><td><pre>:D</pre></td><td>112</td></tr>
> <tr><td><pre>:P</pre></td><td>87</td></tr>
> <tr><td><pre>:(</pre></td><td>29</td></tr>
> </tbody>
> </table>
> <p id="personalusage">* The usage frequencies listed here are personal.</p>
> </dd>
> <dt>Table 2. Emoticons and their usage frequencies.</dt>
> </figure>
> <p>A colon and a closing parenthesis formed the first smiley,
> as shown in <a href="#firstemo">Figure 3</a>.</p>
> <p>More emoticons were created later on.
> See <a href="#commonemos">Table 2</a> for details.</p>

So now, contrary to most style guildelines and publications, you're
putting tables into the figure element, and just pretending that
figure is really anything.

You're saying we should just ignore practice and good usage, because
it works technically, and that's all that matters: it works

> Jeroen van der Gun
> http://www.jeroenvandergun.nl

Received on Wednesday, 2 December 2009 15:57:32 UTC

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