W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > June 2013

Re: <subline> becomes <subhead> and other updates

From: Jukka K. Korpela <jukka.k.korpela@kolumbus.fi>
Date: Sun, 09 Jun 2013 17:34:36 +0300
Message-ID: <51B4927C.3090600@kolumbus.fi>
To: porneL <pornel@pornel.net>
CC: public-html@w3.org
2013-06-09 16:54, porneL wrote:
> On 8 June 2013 17:04:01 "Jukka K. Korpela" 
> <jukka.k.korpela@kolumbus.fi> wrote:
>> 2013-06-08 16:21, Steve Faulkner wrote:
>> If the problem being solved is authors' question "which markup should 
>> I use for...", then I would say that such a problem needs no solution 
>> in the form of a new markup element. People have solved such problems 
>> over 20 years, with whatever HTML elements are available. There is no 
>> need for unification, partly because there is no objectively 
>> definable, reasonably exact definition for the structure that the new 
>> elements are supposed to indicate.
> Definitely authors want some markup for subheadings, which is why 
> h1+h2 markup pattern emerged that hgroup t[ri]ed to fix.

It was similarly a wrong move. Just because some patterns emerge doesn't 
mean that markup rules need to be changed. On the contrary, if authors 
can do what they want to do by combining HTML elements in a certain why, 
why tell them to do things otherwise (like group headings in some 
containers)? If some authors wish to use headings with some inner markup 
instead, why tell them they should switch to using some very different 

> So I think the spec should give some advice on the markup.

Specifications and tutorials are two different things, or should be. The 
question about markup for (something that some people see as) 
subheadings is at a completely different level than the definition of a 
markup language and associated APIs. There are many approaches, and it 
is actually easier to specify one possible approach and present 
arguments in favor of it than to decide, at a general level, which one 
of such proposals is best.

> Is there a pattern you'd suggest?

I have already described an approach where a heading has internal 
markup, using <small> or other elements, aimed at displaying parts of it 
less prominently than the rest. But it is just one possible approach, a 
simple and robust one.

If there is some aspect beyond rendering that should be taken into 
account, it should be presented and clarified first. If there is no 
realistically imaginable way in which markup saying "this is a 
subheading" should be actually used in software, then such markup is not 
needed - it is even harmful since it causes confusion and questions that 
lead nowhere. If such usage can be presented, then the concept of 
"subheading" (or whatever you call it) should be defined much better 
than simply using a vague English word for it, or a list of vague 
English words.

The "outline" algorithm is the only use I've seen mentioned, and the 
whole "outline" thing is rather theoretical and with few practical 
applications. Besides, using just <small> inside headings is compatible 
with the "outline" idea (the heading texts can be rather long, but they 
can be long even without considering any "subheading" idea). Apparently 
an <h2> that is actually coupled with a preceding <h1> rather than a 2nd 
level heading is not compatible with it, but then the conclusion is 
simple: if you think "outline" matters, just don't use that approach to 
"subheading" markup.

Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
Received on Sunday, 9 June 2013 14:35:02 UTC

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