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Re: maincontent element

From: Cameron Jones <cmhjones@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2012 13:31:10 +0100
Message-ID: <CALGrges4D7GnM090nAzAdY+YHX-Uj7Xn_atP6n0LniKwPp0Dsw@mail.gmail.com>
To: Steve Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>
Cc: David Corvoysier <david.corvoysier@orange.com>, HTMLWG WG <public-html@w3.org>
On Sun, Sep 9, 2012 at 8:24 PM, Steve Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com> wrote:
> There has been continued discussion [1] in other fora on the addition
> of an element that identifies the main content of a web page, the idea
> has been around for a long time.

I participated in the discussion and was against it due to lack of
tangible value. I'll probably just be repeating some of the comments i
made there, here.

> This element would formalise common the common practice [2] of using
> an id value such as "content" or "main" (typically on a div) to
> identify a container element for the main content area of a document
> or application.

The id and/or class are added for stylistic targeting and not semantic
markup, so the common practice is for a different purpose than
semantic structure.

> It would also provide an element that is a  HTML version of the ARIA role=main.

This attribute applies the necessary annotation for accessibility,
doesn't it make more sense for people to use this and have a clear
meant-for-accessibility annotation? It promotes annotating for web
accessibility, which i thought you would be all for?

On Mon, Sep 10, 2012 at 8:36 AM, Steve Faulkner
<faulkner.steve@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi David,
> new HTML5  elements such as article/footer/header/nav/section etc have
> implicit mapping to ARIA roles which are being implemented in
> browsers. This means that rather than having to add landmark roles to
> elements, the semantics are (when implemented) conveyed through the
> use of the element. This is a better approach for authors as it means
> when they use the elements they get the semantics conveyed withou
> having to add aria roles. The addition of a maincontent element would
> complete the provision of native HTML semantic elements that convey
> common and useful landmark structures.

The problem, however, is that if the semantics are not crystal clear
they will be misused and you end up with a semantic-soup, which
eliminates the concise structure which we are yet to bathe in.

I haven't heard a good case of what semantic value is added over
<article> and <section>. The arguments tend to fall on authorship
aesthetics, which is meaningless and based on a naive document
structure which is just as substitute for CSS class names.

The "implicit" mapping from semantic elements to ARIA roles fits
sometimes but also infers costs the other way round, now people are
adding new, meaningless structure for supporting accessibility when
attributes already serve greater flexibility.

LIke calls to wait for HTML.next, i think if this is going to move
forward is should only be based on solid feedback from the wild, from
consumers as well as producers. I'm more confident that ARIA will be
integrated more universally, and people will use <article> and
<section> for semantic encapsulation and partitioning of content which
can be syndicated or segmented.

> regards
> SteveF

Cameron Jones
Received on Monday, 10 September 2012 12:31:38 UTC

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