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Re: [whatwg] A plea to Hixie to adopt <main>

From: Ben Schwarz <ben.schwarz@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 8 Nov 2012 09:11:50 +1100
Message-Id: <BDE81AC5-A8A4-4694-87F7-016C5F2C99DF@gmail.com>
To: whatwg@lists.whatwg.org
In response to Silvia's comments—

I think relying on <xxx role=""> is a pretty good result, I think we need to stretch further. 

An <article> is a piece of content that isn't semantically defined on its parents. (right?)
Shouldn't we have a way to define this without confusing the "main" content of the 'page'? 

On 08/11/2012, at 8:07 AM, Silvia Pfeiffer <silviapfeiffer1@gmail.com> wrote:

> On Thu, Nov 8, 2012 at 3:00 AM, Markus Ernst <derernst@gmx.ch> wrote:
>> Am 07.11.2012 15:48 schrieb Jukka K. Korpela:
>> I suppose that the heuristics would include recognizing a <div> element
>>> to which class "main" has been assigned. Then one could argue that
>>> <main> is not needed, as authors can keep using <div class="main">, as
>>> millions of pages use.
>> I doubt that this is useable for that kind of heuristics anyway - as there
>> is no standard for this, "main" as a class name may indicate the main
>> contents, but also a main container to center the whole page. Also,
>> non-english speaking coders may use their own language words as id or class
>> names.
> Agreed.
> Looking at existing uses of <div class="main"> to analyse whether we need a
> <main> element really doesn't make sense to me. I firmly believe that
> class="main" is mostly used for CSS purposes and not for semantic (and thus
> accessibility) purposes.
> Instead, we should be looking at pages that use <xxx role=main> or more
> traditionally in older Web pages use a "skip to main" link as the use cases
> for a <main> element. Sometimes that may co-incide with <div class="main">,
> but not in general.
> Therefore, I don't actually think that the introduction in Steve's
> document  is making a good case for the existence of the element with this
> sentence:
> "The main element formalises the common
> practice<https://dvcs.w3.org/hg/html-extensions/raw-file/tip/maincontent/index.html#common>of
> identification of the main content section of a document using the
> id values such as 'content' and 'main'."
> I'd suggest explaining that there is currently no explicit means of
> identifying with 100% accuracy what part of a Web page is the single most
> important part. Instead we have a solution only for accessibility purposes
> with the @role="main" ARIA attribute, or more traditionally by providing a
> "skip to main" link on the top of the page. If there was a <main> element
> that semantically identified the important part of a Web page, that would
> improve accessibility, but also enable for example search engines to give
> that part of a Web page a higher importance.
> On that latter part: I am always annoyed when a search engine gives me
> links to a particular topic that I was searching for which is only
> mentioned in a side bar as some related information. It would be possible
> to exclude such content if there was a <main> element. The argument that
> <article> and <aside> etc. will do away with such problems relies on
> authors actually making use of these elements. I am yet to see that happen
> - in fact I have seen people that started using these elements go away from
> them again, since they don't seem to have any obvious advantage. <main> on
> the other hand has a very real advantage - immediately for accessibility -
> and its easier to put a single <main> element on a page than to introduce a
> whole swag of new elements. It's the simplicity of that single element that
> will make it immediately usable by everyone, will reduce the probability of
> authoring error, and thus make it reliable for search engines and other
> semantic uses.
> Regards,
> Silvia.
Received on Wednesday, 7 November 2012 22:14:00 UTC

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