Re: Breaking out Headers, Footers and Navigation

On Mon, 19 Apr 2004, David Woolley wrote:
>> Stylesheets have absolutely nothing to do with semantics like this.
> That's true, but what I was saying was that the right way to provide
> a lot of the information that goes into headers and footers is as
> link elements or meta references.

I think you are missing the point. People want this kind of content to
appear in the content area, they want to mark it up richly, including
nested lists of links and so forth.

But they need to be able to mark off certain sections as being "the
header" or "the footer" or "navigation" -- for several reasons; sanity is
one of them, clarity of markup is another. If there was a semantic way of
marking this up, aural UAs could skip past navigation, or jump to
navigation, easily. Indexers could be careful to avoid navigation and
footers in their indexing. And so forth.

One way of telling that there is a need for this is to look at random Web
pages written by people who understand HTML (i.e. pages that don't use
<font>, etc) and see what they are using the semantic-free <div> elements
for. You _frequently_ see:

   <div class="header">
    <p>Welcome to...</p>
    <h1>XYZ Site</h1>
    <h2>This site for Xs Ys and Zs</h2>

...which IMHO is semantically dubious at best, and clearly denotes the
need for more semantics (in this case, probably <header> and <byline> or
some such).

> Moreover, what I was also saying is that, if browsers haven't provided
> explicit support for similar features, they are unlikely to do so for
> new ones, so the only way that the average author will get these
> features actioned by a browser is by providing a style sheet.  As they
> can provide a style sheet, it means that the addition of such a feature
> isn't completely hostage to browsers.

The elements that were proposed would be no harder to support in UAs than
<div> is already. So I don't understand the problem. (Indeed some UAs that
already just fake support for any element would _already_ support them
to a large extent.)

Ian Hickson                                      )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
U+1047E                                         /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.                         `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

Received on Monday, 19 April 2004 07:44:24 UTC