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[whatwg] SPOOFED: Re: SPOOFED: Re: ---

From: Philipp Serafin <phil127@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 5 Nov 2008 21:47:36 +0100
Message-ID: <f042876c0811051247q7735952fm16a79b4cbee415d1@mail.gmail.com>
On Wed, Nov 5, 2008 at 4:00 PM, Leons Petrazickis
<leons.petrazickis at gmail.com> wrote:
> It matters in the sense that web browsers would have to implement both
> approaches for backwards compatibility.
>

This depends what you mean when talking about "implementing" a tag.
Browsers already load all tags and attributes they encounter into the
page DOM today , regardless if they "know" them or not. This is also
the behavior that HTML5 demands, if I'm not mistaken. Interactive
elements and "special" elements like "script", "head", "table", etc do
need further special treatment, but so far browsers seem to do little
more with semantic elements than apply a default style to them. And
sice CSS selectors have already widespread support as well, this
behavior would be trivially repeatable for new tags by web authors
themselves. So there is not that much of an implementation burden at
the moment.

>Standards that have tried to make changes like that -- XHTML2 comes to
>mind -- have not been as successful as HTML4 [...]

We can't really make any statements about how successful XHTML2 would
be on the public web. It's not yet a recommendation (though this would
probably not change much) and no browser implemented it, so there was
never opportunity to find out.

>Adoption and usability are the twin goals -- not purity or
>consistency.

Of course I fully agree that purity must not the only goal itself. The
W3C definitely went overboard with this in their latest proposals.
However, sometimes it does look as if the WHATWG takes it to the
opposite extreme and treat purity and consistency as explicit
non-goals.
If consistency hampers usabillity, usabillity is of course to be
preferred. However, I think, often the two are interrelated instead of
opposing goals. After all, each inconsistency is a new rule that
implementors have to implement and authors have to learn. This makes
the language harder to understand and actually slows down adaption.
Look at XML for the opposite story. Many people have frowned at the
mass of XML-based languages, formats and specifications that popped
up. But then again, why DID so many people create XML formats so
quickly? Because the concept of "nested tags with attributes" is
really simple to understand. Of course HTML5 has to cope with really
horrible legacy content and many inconsistencies are just there. But
we should still try not to introduce more.
And yes, I do believe <reference class="abbreviation" ...> would be
easier, because then web authors wouldn't need to remember which
semantic content can be described by tags and which needs custom
classes.

But anyway, this discussion is moot, since many of those tags can't be
changed due to backwards compatibility. Maybe someone should clarify
though how agents are supposed to use those semantic tags, especially
semantic, user-defined classes. What actual benefit do I have if I use
class="heading" instead of class="style15"?
Received on Wednesday, 5 November 2008 12:47:36 UTC

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