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Re: Working Group Decision on ISSUE-91: Removing the aside Element

From: Shelley Powers <shelleyp@burningbird.net>
Date: Thu, 03 Jun 2010 09:47:19 -0500
Message-ID: <4C07C077.4060101@burningbird.net>
To: public-html@w3.org
If we're referencing the informal design principles, then we should also 
consider the principle of Do not Reinvent the Wheel[1].

In the change proposal, I demonstrated an existing approach to adding 
captions to content[2]. My approach would have followed the design 
principle of not re-inventing the wheel. I wrote in the Positive Effects 

"This alternative to figure I've provided in this change proposal is a 
frugal one that serves the same purpose for multiple user agents, 
multiple audiences, and uses available technology and specifications. It 
allows people to create any form of illustration, and ensures they're 

Removing the figure element and associated figcaption element, helps 
trim down the overlarge number of elements that have been added with 
HTML5. Each new element we add to the specification has a related cost 
when it comes to implementation—not only across browsers, but also other 
tools, such as HTML editors, and HTML generation tools.

In addition, encouraging the use of existing HTML, CSS, and ARIA 
properties and attributes also encourages reuse over creating new, which 
should be a fundamental goal of this group. If there is a strong 
rationale for creating something new, and there really isn't a good 
alternative, then we can feel justified in creating new elements. 
However, in the case of figure, as both Michael and Simon have pointed 
out, we've made do with what we have today. We can improve what we have 
with the addition of the ARIA states and roles, and ensure both a 
semantic and an accessible solution. "

Though I did not reference the Design Principles directly, I would 
expect a reasonable person to be able to map between the concepts of 
"reuse over creating new" and not reinventing the wheel. Yet you did not 
address this in your decision.

You can't inconsistently pick and choose among the design principles: 
applying one, ignoring another. To do so implies that the decision was 
based less on the strengths of arguments provided, and more on whatever 
is most expedient.


[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/html-design-principles/#do-not-reinvent-the-wheel
Received on Thursday, 3 June 2010 14:47:56 UTC

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