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

Re: ISSUE-83 ACTION-152 Change Proposal for the use of dt/dd in figure and details

From: Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 27 Nov 2009 09:53:24 -0600
Message-ID: <dd0fbad0911270753n2e07fd46ha0d3a4203575b3ed@mail.gmail.com>
To: Jeroen van der Gun <noreplytopreventspam@blijbol.nl>
Cc: public-html <public-html@w3.org>
On Thu, Nov 26, 2009 at 4:54 PM, Jeroen van der Gun
<noreplytopreventspam@blijbol.nl> wrote:
> Hello folks,
> This proposal lists three reasons for the change. I'd like to point
> out that I discovered that one of them, the technical failure in IE6
> and IE7, is actually invalid.
> The problem is about styles getting leaked to the parent. By putting
> the figure or details element inside a div element, the closing tag of
> the div effectively solves the problem. Since this div needs to exist
> anyway to be able to style the figure or details element (since
> unknown elements cannot be styled in IE), the only way this problem
> can occur is if the dd or dt element is styled, but the figure or
> details element is not. So in reality this IE bug will rarely occur,
> and even if it does, it is extremely easy to solve.
> You can read more about this at my blog (test demonstration included):
> http://blog.jeroenvandergun.nl/7-html5-figure-and-details-do-not-break-in-ie
> Please take this into consideration before changing the HTML5 specification.

Yup, that seems to work just fine.  It's not *perfect* - the <dt>/<dd>
elements themselves still have some very slight rendering oddities†,
but they're minor enough that they won't matter in most cases, and can
be easily patched up with conditional styles when necessary (they're
no worse than the rendering oddities we see everyday in IE7 and IE6

Henry Sivonen says that this is caused by <div> being a scoping
element.  I don't understand enough of the parsing internals to really
grasp what this means, but hey, it works!

A note: You do have to attach the styles to the wrapping <div>, not
the <figure>.  This becomes even more important when you consider the
footnote to this email.

† The rendering oddities actually seem to be caused by <figure> itself
- it's possible that IE<8 is still actually creating a non-tree DOM in
some manner, but the damage is contained by the <div>.  This can be
avoided entirely by *not* using document.createElement("figure") to
make IE recognize it.  Instead, just let the legacy IEs do their
strange double-void-element thing with <figure></figure>.  Attach all
the styles that *would* go on <figure> to the <div.figure> instead,
and pair it with a single "figure { display:block; }" declaration
(otherwise you get an extraneous linebox at the bottom of the

So, in summary:
1) Wrap your <figure>s in <div class=figure>.
2) Do *not* do the document.createElement() hack for "figure".
3) Attach all the styling that you'd like to put on <figure> to the
div.figure instead.
4) Attach a simple "display:block" declaration to figure itself (you
have to do this anyway for the other browsers).

With these guidelines, you can use <figure> in IE6 and IE7 without a
problem.  I haven't tested yet, but presumably you can do the same
with <details>.

Received on Friday, 27 November 2009 15:53:53 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Thursday, 29 October 2015 10:15:54 UTC