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Re: [XHTML 2.0] emphesis

From: Edward Lass <elass@goer.state.ny.us>
Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2006 13:02:52 -0400
Message-Id: <s49fdb0f.081@mail.goer.state.ny.us>
To: <www-html@w3.org>

The XHTML 2.0 draft includes a "normative style sheet": "While visual
user agents implementing XHTML 2 are not required to support CSS2, they
are required to behave as if the following CSS2 styles are in

I think what we're looking at here is (1) how well the normative style
sheet visually conveys the semantics of these levels of emphasis and (2)
if new elements, attributes, or a normative microformat are needed in
XHTML to make up for any inadequacies in the normative style sheet.

A present-day (X)HTML visual user agent, with CSS disabled, for
Latin-script text, will currently default to four (not two) levels of
emphasis: no elements (normal), <em/> (italic), <strong/> (bold), and
<em><strong/></em> or vice versa (bold italic).

On the other hand, heading levels in the current (X)HTML offer six
defaults, including one that is smaller than normal text. Since XHTML is
currently moving away from numbering them one through six,
re-introducing that method for a different purpose would probably not be
a good idea at this point. I would put aside the specific suggestion for
a level attribute.

A more general principle of having more extensibility in marking up
emphasis and de-emphasis is still worth considering. I agree with
Alexandre Alapetite's earlier email suggesting multiple <strong/>
elements, which seems consistent with XHTML's plan to match the new <h/>
element to the number of <section/> elements.

But how would that fifth level of emphasis be visually represented by a
normative style sheet? And how would de-emphasized text be represented?

Maybe, for Western languages, as the semantic equivalent of the
presentational <big/> and <small/> elements. Those are being obsoleted
in the XHTML 2.0 draft. So what's a semantic replacement for <small/>?

 - Ed.

[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml2/xhtml2-style.html#a_stylesheet 

>>> Jonathan Worent <jworent@yahoo.com> 6/26/2006 9:47:50 AM >>>
Yes, Patrick you're correct. There seems to have been
some confusion in what I meant. I am suggesting that
we need a way to semantically describe multiple levels
of emphasis in (x)html. It will then be up to the
browsers to represent those levels. I'm also
suggesting that we need a way to markup de-emphasis. 

Let me explain what I meant when I said we have to
rely on css for more than 2 levels of emphasis.

Take this code: 
<p>I am <em class="level1>emphasizing</em> random
<strong class="level2">words</em> to illustrate a
<strong class="level3">point</em>.

Whithout CSS <strong class="level2"> and <strong
class="level3"> are treated equally. If I want one
emphasized more than the other I must use CSS to
indicate this. Then if the CSS is ignored they are no
longer emphesized differently. I really believe this
needs to be explicit in the markup.
Received on Monday, 26 June 2006 17:01:07 UTC

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