[whatwg] Deprecating <small>, <b> ?

Of course not.  You're not intended to.  What you *do* get, though, is that 
this is a word which is *intentionally* stylistically offset from the rest 
of the text.  This conveys semantic meaning to a human - it means that the 
word is special or being used in a particular context.  <b> and <i> don't 
communicate *much*, but they communicate *something*.  One could, of course, 
also use a <span> to mark up and style the text, thus communicating the same 
intent to a person reading the styled text, but to a machine the <span> 
means literally nothing, while <b> and <i> have the possibility to 
communicate *something*.

In addition, the fact that these elements traditionally have a particular 
preferred rendering means something.  A dumb terminal which doesn't 
understand CSS won't give any indication to the user that a <span> exists at 
all, while <b> and <i> have a chance of providing fallback rendering that 
still accomplishes what they were designed to do.  A decent chunk of html5 
concerns itself with providing fallbacks and graceful degradation (or 
progressive enhancement, whichever way you want to look at it).  Having some 
*nearly* semantic-free elements which have a meaningful fallback can be 

Of course, it may certainly be more useful to you if you provide a class on 
the <i> as well.


First: Computers are binary instruments. conveying *something* is not very 
logical seen from a computers point of view. It is not usefull to *me* to 
provide a class to the <i> or any other element, it is usefull to the 
computer, as humans may indeed come to some sort of conclusion based on 
style or strangely used semantics, computers cannot, they (still) need a 
more literal means of semantics.

Second: Suppose I want to collect all copyright notices from 1000 websites 
(don't ask me why, I just want to), how am I to do this when they are marked 
up in <small>s? I will definatly end up with a lot of text that has nothing 
to do with copyrights (and probably miss a lot of copyright notices as they 
are marked up differently) Whereas If they were maked up in (for example) 
<span class="copyright"> I could retrieve it all based on the class-name.


Received on Friday, 14 November 2008 07:38:32 UTC