W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > March 2010

Re: ISSUE-89 Change Proposal

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Sat, 27 Mar 2010 14:25:06 -0700
Cc: HTMLWG WG <public-html@w3.org>
Message-id: <A1F0DEFC-4518-4776-94EF-E7E5AA2F2B0D@apple.com>
To: Shelley Powers <shelley.just@gmail.com>

Thank you for submitting this Change Proposal. It has been recorded on  
the issue status page:


On Mar 26, 2010, at 12:06 PM, Shelley Powers wrote:

> (Any document references contained in this Change Proposal are
> specific to the March 4th Draft)
> Summary
> Remove Section 4.13 Common Idioms completely from the HTML5  
> specification.
> Rationale
> Currently, the Idioms section[1] contains suggested markup and CSS to
> create a web page tag cloud, a conversation, and footnotes. This
> section is only suggested markup: there are no author or
> implementation conformance requirements, no new attributes or elements
> introduced, and no changes to either HTML/XHTML syntax, or the DOM. It
> is nothing more than the HTML5 Editor's suggestion about what people
> can use.
> According to the HTML5 Editor, Ian Hickson, the rationale[2] given for
> keeping this section is:
>    This section was added at the request of authors who wanted to
> know what the spec suggested for the topics it mentions. Therefore
> removing it would be doing authors a disservice, and authors take
> priority.
> I checked in email archives for both WhatWG and the W3C, and can find
> no author requests for including this material. I did find questions
> that people asked on the WhatWG email list about recommendations of
> syntax to use, and scattered requests for a new dialog element and
> something specific to footers, but none resulted in additional
> elements/attributes. [3]. Asking for new elements or advice on how to
> use the new HTML5 syntax is a different thing than asking that
> recommended markup use be included in the HTML5 specification.
> What is the purpose of this section? If it was created specifically in
> response to people asking for a dialog or footnote element, a better
> approach would be to provide a detailed rationale for why such
> requests were refused, and then point people to this when asked again.
> If people disagree, we have a Decision process in place where they can
> escalate the item to an issue and provide a change proposal. Providing
> a how-to section is not the way to basically tell people, "No".
> In addition, there can be no author or implementation conformance
> tests for the section. The suggestions are just that, suggestions. A
> person is just as welcome to ignore the suggestions, as not. Yet by
> being included in the HTML5 specification, there's a real risk of such
> suggestions being codified as requirements—rather than help authors,
> such suggestions could end up causing problems for authors.
> As an example of the problem of including this type of material in the
> specification, there have been discussions about dialog markup[4],
> supposedly related to the HTML WG deprecating the use of the dl
> element for dialog. The use of the dl to mark up dialog, though, was
> only a suggestion made in the HTML4 specification, in a manner very
> similar to what we now have in Section 4.13. How can this group
> deprecate that which was never anything more than a suggestion?
> If the use of dl in HTML4 was nothing more than a suggestion, and we
> don't want to encourage such use in the future, then don't repeat the
> suggestion in HTML5. End of story. If people want to continue using
> dl, OK. If people don't, well, that's OK too. No interoperability or
> other problem is introduced if people use different markup.
> A better approach is for markup for a specific purpose to occur
> organically, becoming a best practice over time. We've seen this
> happen with menus. There is no requirement that menus be unordered
> lists—it is a best practice that grew over time, to the point where we
> rarely see web page menus now that aren't unordered lists. And if
> there are people who prefer to use another markup? That's fine, too.
> Details
> Remove Section 4.13 and any references to it. As an ancillary
> suggestion, I would also strongly recommend removing the note in the
> dl element section that states the following:
>    Note: The dl  element is inappropriate for marking up dialogue.
> Examples of how to mark up dialogue are shown below.
> It's not up to us to tell people what markup to use for what, aside
> from there being a rationale for providing such a guideline. Unless
> we're planning on making the use of dl for dialog non-conforming, in
> addition to making another use of markup conforming for dialog, and
> providing a good rationale for doing both, we should just drop any
> reference to dialog markup. Let the market determine best practice.
> Impact
> Positive
> Removing this section prevents possible future confusion about what is
> a requirement, and what is one suggestion out of the pool of possible
> suggestions. This change also ensures that the best markup to use for
> specific purposes is allowed to develop organically, and the best
> practices emerge naturally.
> Negative
> Change requires Editor time to implement within the specification.
> Risks
> By removing this text from the document, someone unfamiliar with past
> discussions about dialog and footnote elements may ask for such
> elements in the future. The risk can be offset  if they are directed
> to the past discussions. If they persist in wanting these elements,
> they should be encouraged to submit a bug, and push the item through
> the Decision Process. Future requests can then be directed to the
> formally recorded rationale for rejecting a special purpose dialog and
> footnote elements.
> References
> [1] http://dev.w3.org/html5/spec/interactive-elements.html#common-idioms-without-dedicated-elements
> [2] http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=8401
> [3] http://lists.whatwg.org/htdig.cgi/whatwg-whatwg.org/2008-October/016556.html
> [4] http://lists.whatwg.org/htdig.cgi/whatwg-whatwg.org/2006-October/007576.html
Received on Saturday, 27 March 2010 21:25:40 UTC

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