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Re: indicating subtitles using small

From: Åke Järvklo <ake@jarvklo.se>
Date: Mon, 8 Apr 2013 23:30:11 +0200
Message-ID: <CAD5mPodrixJZgwFik8yhvLfUV3ET6Y8eMoQDvWpGD7Kh=V=7tw@mail.gmail.com>
To: public-html@w3.org, faulkner.steve@gmail.com
There be dragons here - obviously. And with hgroup still around this might
IMHO probably have been a non-issue (at least for a grass-root like myself)
since then we would have had *that* alternative to use.

But hgroup is gone now, and the need to group/split/handle "grouped
headings" obviously persists. so here we are (and here's my two cents on
the matter (thanks Steve Faulkner for asking! ) )

My thoughts goes something like this:

TL;DR:
Small elements inside headings seems fine to me. I never considered this a
problem until the events leading up to tweets about boycotting Bootstrap
over this issue started the other day.

* b, i, small and big were all presentational (and very similar to each
other in their inline definitions and common "presentational only"
semantics) in HTML4 - and they were all altered during the work that led us
up to HTML5.
* The implementation of these elements in HTML5 seems (by empirical testing
at least) to remain exactly the same as in HTML4 - so technically they have
not changed in how they are handled by browsers.
* The semantics of b and i has changed, but that was made in a way that
enabled those elements to more or less be used as before and still fulfill
the new semantic rules.
* big were made entirely obsolete, and must no longer not be used by
authors.
* small (the presentational "counterpart" to big) was not dropped, but
instead given a set of new semantics that (still) don't affect how the
element is implemented in browsers

That said - b and i are IMHO excellent examples on how the semantic changes
for HTML5 were handled in the best of ways. If someone occasionally treads
an an old cow-path (for *whatever reason* - milage varies), this most
likely will fulfill the new semantics for those elements and this will most
likely not present a problem to anyone...

IMHO it is important to remember this historical aspect when judging on
"small as a possible vehicle for subtitles" - again - it is a *very* humble
opinion.

So - Fast forward to present time and this discussion.

To me - since the use of the use of small element inside a header element
won't break anything on the page (or - as has been indicated in this thread
does most likely not pose a problem for eg. AT enhanced browsers or search
engines)  - this is an opportunity to extend the semantics of the small
element ever so little and thereby make it more "seamlessly integrated"
between HTML4 and HTML5 -  and thereby easier to understand for a larger
audience of developers out there.

Perhaps a new name for the "small print" semantic needs - together with
dropping small (like big was dropped) - would be better, but I recall that
*that* discussion has already occured (and that it - for an outsider -
seemed very painful) - so...

Summary:

IMHO - Since the Bootstrap editors are already interpreting the current
wording as "small is OK there" (and it blew right past me as well although
I try to pay close attention "from the rafters" to where HTML5 is going and
advocate "respecting the spec" from my position whenever I can) - the
change should probably need to be minimal change in wording to more or less
automatically invite the users of Botstrap into the world of standards
compliance (at least for this detalil ;) ), and that - IMHO - would be a
win.

FWIW

/Jarvklo
Received on Monday, 8 April 2013 21:30:42 UTC

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