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Re: Proposal for XHTML 2.0: The <footnote> element

From: Lorenzo De Tomasi <lorenzo.detomasi@libero.it>
Date: Wed, 15 Jan 2003 01:40:22 +0100
To: <www-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <BA4A6C86.261F%lorenzo.detomasi@libero.it>

on 15-01-2003 1:16, Herr Christian Wolfgang Hujer at
Christian.Hujer@itcqis.com wrote:

> Hello Jonas, dear list members,
> Am Mittwoch, 15. Januar 2003 00:29 schrieb Jonas Jørgensen:
>> [This message is CC'ed to www-html-editor in accordance with what I
>> believe is the official way to suggest new elements. Please don't CC
>> www-html-editor on followups to this message.]
> Thanks for the reminder.
> I instead cc: to www-style because I think footnotes will affect CSS.
>> I hereby propose for inclusion in XHTML 2.0 a <footnote> element for
>> marking up footnotes.
>> Typically, footnotes in HTML are done using "[1]" (or similar) as the
>> reference to the footnote, with the number linked to a paragraph at the
>> bottom of the document. Here's an example of such markup:
>> <p>There exists no element for marking up footnotes[<a
>> href="#footnote1">1</a>] in the current XHTML 2.0 draft.</p>
>> <p id="footnote1">A footnote is a note of reference or comment at the
>> foot of a page.</p>
>> There are several problems with this approach:
>> * When printed, the footnote will be on the last page instead of on the
>> page containing the reference to the footnote.
>> * When copying text containing a footnote from one HTML document to
>> another, you need to copy two pieces of text from two different places
>> in the document.
>> * If you add a footnote in the middle of a document, you need to
>> renumber the footnotes in the rest of the document manually.
>> These problems could be solved by marking up the footnote as a footnote
>> and putting the footnote where it belongs, after the text that
>> references it, instead of at the end of the document.
>> With a <footnote> element, the above example would become:
>> <p>There exists no element for marking up footnotes<footnote>A footnote
>> is a note of reference or comment at the foot of a page.</footnote> in
>> the current XHTML 2.0 draft.</p>
>> Additional advantages of this approach:
>> * Cleaner markup; easier to read and write.
>> * User agents can handle presentation any way they want. For example, a
>> visual user agent might insert a footnote reference where the <footnote>
>> element is, and display the contents of the <footnote> element at the
>> bottom of the canvas when the reference is visible.
>> * Aural user agents can handle footnotes in a more user-friendly manner.
> Yeah. I really like this idea.
> I think most of what is required to achieve that formatting is already
> included in CSS3 (especially the enhancements over CSS2 in Paged Media
> Properties for CSS3: http://www.w3.org/TR/css3-page )
> I hope someone more deep into CSS3 than me can tell more about how far
> <footnote/> could be implemented using <span class="footnote"/> with a
> corresponding rule.
> But I'd not call if footnote - I think it should be more generic since one
> might want to use if for the bibliography or glossary as well.

This is a very good idea! :)
In this way note must contain <p>, <l>, <ul>, <ol>, <a>, <object>, etc.,
because a note can be a full document itself...

> So what about
> <section>
> <h>There are two laws of nature:</h>
> <dl>
> <dt>Reality</dt>
> <dd>
> <l>In reality<note type="glossary">the world of matter</note>,
> resources are short<note type="bibliography"><cite>Das Kapital,
> ISBN...</cite></note>. Reproduction consumes resources.</l>
> <l>That makes capitalism a successful model in reality. Companies and
> their success are an example for that.</l>
> </dd>
> <dt>Virtuality</dt>
> <dd>
> <l>In virtuality<note type="glossary">the world of thoughts</note>,
> resources are opulent. Reproduction does not consume resources.</l>
> <l>That makes socialism<note type="footnote">thinking socialism is bad
> just because people tell you to think so is just as bad as thinking socialism
> is good just because people tell you to think so</note> a successful model in
> virtuality. Open Source and its success is an example for that.</l>
> </dd>
> </dl>

I should be able to assign a style to each note type="" and to each anchor
symbol like for <li>.
Probably the better way is to choose some default styles for the most used
types for the browsers:
rightnote (colwidth, anchor)
leftnote (colwidth, anchor)
footnote (anchor)
headnote (anchor)

anchor: superscript number, superscript letter, arrow, circle, square,
object (url)

> I admit, it might be "DocBook and transform it to XHTML using XSLT", what we
> are looking for.
> But then, there are Jonas' good arguments about the formatting of footnotes.

> The type attribute might also be renamed so it won't be confused with a type
> attribute taking a mime type as value.
> The types glossary, bibliography, footnote and endnote should be predefined,
> that is, there should be default CSS rules like
> note[type="footnote"] {
> /* ... */
> }
> Then again, there must be a mechanism to "insert" the notes, maybe someone
> wants the notes at the beginning or at the end of the document.
> Oh this is a complex topic.
> I just wanted to add some ideas to discuss about. I do not claim anything I
> wrote makes sense.
> Bye

Lorenzo De Tomasi, student of Information Architecture, Interface Design and
Visual Design
via Bellaria 6, 21018 Sesto Calende (Varese), Italia
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Received on Tuesday, 14 January 2003 19:40:35 UTC

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