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[whatwg] Headings and sections, role of H2-H6

From: Jesse McCarthy <whatwg-2010-04@jessemccarthy.net>
Date: Wed, 28 Apr 2010 19:47:56 -0400
Message-ID: <5A125DA3E79E424DBD735503F4D59039@p>
I think the new section and heading model in HTML 5 is a welcome 
development.  I've actually essentially been doing it that way for years --  
eschewing H2-H6 and using DIV as a stand in for SECTION.  I've always 
considered the H1-H6 concept a mess, and thankfully that seems to have been 
recognized by the people working on this spec.

My understanding is that in HTML 5 the following is acceptable, and at least 
as acceptable as the alternative: use just H1, in conjunction with SECTION; 
forego use of H2-H6 for the most part; and, allow heading level to be 
determined by section nesting level.  Is that correct?

My question is about the explanation and code sample in the HTML 5 Working 
Draft section [4.4.11 Headings and sections]:

"Sections may contain headings of any rank, but authors are strongly 
encouraged to either use only h1 elements, or to use elements of the 
appropriate rank for the section's nesting level"

There are 2 code examples shortly after that passage, and the following one 
is indicated as being preferable to the other one because the sections are 
explicitly marked up instead of implied:

<body>
 <h1>Apples</h1>
 <p>Apples are fruit.</p>
 <section>
  <h2>Taste</h2>
  <p>They taste lovely.</p>
  <section>
   <h3>Sweet</h3>
   <p>Red apples are sweeter than green ones.</p>
  </section>
 </section>
 <section>
  <h2>Color</h2>
  <p>Apples come in various colors.</p>
 </section>
</body>


My point is that the passage makes it seem like using H1 throughout vs. 
using "elements of the appropriate rank for the section's nesting level" are 
equally sound and encouraged, and the code sample uses H2 and H3.

I see why H2-H6 are retained for certain uses, but -- except in an HGROUP --  
there's no good reason to use H2-H6 when writing new code with explicitly 
marked-up sections, is there?  In that scenario isn't using just H1 
throughout decidedly preferable to using H2-H6?  And if so, then as long as 
authors are being strongly encouraged to mark up headings a certain way, 
wouldn't it be ideal to state a clear preference for using H1 throughout and 
include a third code example, indicated as the ideal:

<body>
 <h1>Apples</h1>
 <p>Apples are fruit.</p>
 <section>
  <h1>Taste</h1>
  <p>They taste lovely.</p>
  <section>
   <h1>Sweet</h1>
   <p>Red apples are sweeter than green ones.</p>
  </section>
 </section>
 <section>
  <h1>Color</h1>
  <p>Apples come in various colors.</p>
 </section>
</body>
Received on Wednesday, 28 April 2010 16:47:56 UTC

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