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[whatwg] Interpretation issue: can <section> be used for "extended paragraphs"?

From: Jukka K. Korpela <jkorpela@cs.tut.fi>
Date: Fri, 11 Mar 2011 20:01:53 +0200
Message-ID: <427BF16E8F52433ABA817E5B1D356D96@JukanPC>
James Graham wrote:

> On 03/10/2011 09:20 AM, Jukka K. Korpela wrote:
>> My question is: Is this acceptable use of the SECTION element, even
>> in a flow that mostly consists of P elements, not wrapped inside
>> SECTION elements of their own?
> If I understand you correctly, it is not the intended use of
> <section> ? i.e. <section> conveys a different semantic to the one
> that you want ? and could have a number of undesirable consequences.
> In particular it would insert a (presumably untitled) entry into the
> document outline.

That's a good point that had not occurred to me. On the other hand, this 
"outline" thing seems to be somewhat theoretical for the time being... 
Browsers haven't implemented it, and the few online "outliners" I've seen 
mentioned seem to respond by cryptic error messages. This is astonishing, 
because the idea seems to be fairly simple.

Then again, the "outline" concept virtually exists in HTML 4, too. You can 
construct a section nesting tree on the basis of the implicit sectioning 
defined by heading elements. But that's not something that browsers do, or 
authors care about. Maybe HTML5 changes this, somehow.

But, admittedly, it would go against the intuitive idea of "section" to 
divide, say, a section so that some components are sections and some are 
just paragraphs, lists, or something.

What if I used section markup for _all_ paragraphs in some context? Suppose 
I have section consisting of p elements, some of which are coupled with ol 
or ul elements (or something else). Then could divide the entire contents 
into inner sections, each containing either a single paragraph or a 
paragraph and something else. This sounds logically solid, though clumsy. 
The inner sections would effectively be "extended paragraphs", just with a 
simple p element as the sole content in trivial cases.

> I don't think a solution to your problem currently exists. I am
> somewhat skeptical that a solution is urgently required (that is, I
> don't think I have used a tool that *actually* fails if I have to
> split a paragraph to accommodate a list).

The immediate problems (of styling) can be handled using div markup. It just 
sounds so unstructured, and we have been told to use div as the last resort 

Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/ 
Received on Friday, 11 March 2011 10:01:53 UTC

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