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

Re: Write-up about semantics in HTML5 from A List Apart

From: John Allsopp <john@westciv.com>
Date: Wed, 7 Jan 2009 07:58:39 +1100
Cc: public-html@w3.org, "Philip TAYLOR (Ret'd)" <P.Taylor@Rhul.Ac.Uk>, Justin James <j_james@mindspring.com>
Message-Id: <C0BCA77F-31CE-443D-8D8B-EFBDDD2275B5@westciv.com>
To: Boris Zbarsky <bzbarsky@MIT.EDU>

Hi Boris,

> Since there's no sane way to comment on that article without  
> registration,

yeah, it's a bit of a pain you have to register to comment. I doubt  
that such things really impact on spam comments all that well. For a  
similar reason on not on the public HTML mailing list,  so am replying  
to you and those who cc'd me their copies here.

> I'd just like to point out that the author basically proposes using  
> the <input type=""> model for everything.

While it might have some similar implications from a logistical  
perspective in regards to the DOM as you mention, I think that does  
somewhat simplify my argument :-)

>  This runs into serious issues with DOM APIs.  For example, if a  
> @structure can be tossed on to any element, and having  
> structur="header" implies some sort of DOM API (e.g. getting the  
> heading level), then all HTML elements have to expose this DOM API.   
> This leads to all sorts of methods and properties floating around  
> that at best do nothing most of the time until some magic attributes  
> are set.

I didn't at all take  browser implementers perspective when putting  
forward the suggestion - for a couple of reasons

1. it's far from my area of expertise
2. I actually don't think issues of browser performance and complexity  
(as opposed to something being impossible) should come into these  
decisions. We are developing communications solutions for the  
timeframe of decades. I don't think that they should be limited by  
artefacts of current software performance.

> It also means that implementation is complicated because semantics  
> can change on the fly via setAttribute.  I view this as highly  
> undesirable.

Lot's of things can already change on the fly (event handling, style)  
in such away - are they similarly undesirable? (and again, I take it  
from an implementation POV).

Thanks for the thoughts, and for emailing me directly!


John Allsopp :: +61 405 149 597

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Received on Wednesday, 7 January 2009 08:19:06 UTC

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