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Re: code, samp, kbd, var

From: Lachlan Hunt <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au>
Date: Tue, 15 May 2007 00:55:58 +1000
Message-ID: <4648787E.5020700@lachy.id.au>
To: "Philip Taylor (Webmaster)" <P.Taylor@Rhul.Ac.Uk>
CC: www-html@w3.org

Philip Taylor (Webmaster) wrote:
> Lachlan Hunt wrote:
>> Dropping them would would cost more than keeping them...
> I think that in order to make an informed decision on whether or not
> to add <code>, <var>, <samp> and <kbd> (you can't speak of "dropping"
> them, since you have already told us that "[HTML5] started with a clean
> slate"),

yeah, started with, it's not any more.  Since they're already in the 
spec, they would need to be dropped at this point, as opposed to not 
being added in the first place, though I think they should stay.

> it is necessary to have real statistics rather than to  simply describe
> them as "widely used". Did WHATWG actually analyse their usage in a 
> large random sample of extant web pages, and if so, what percentage of 
> pages contained 1, 2, 3 or all of them ?

I believe Hixie's most recent study was over 3 billion documents, 
presumably randomly selected from Google's cache.  I'll ask him for the 
stats on those elements next time I speak to him.

>> I realise they're somewhat specific to computer science, and if we were
>> creating a language from scratch, this issue might have slightly more
>> relevance.  But if they were removed, something new would need to be
>> added (probably through some extension mechanism) and that would be
>> against the design principle of don't reinvent the wheel.
> Here I disagree.  They are very universe-of-discourse specific, so 
> /should/ (IMHO) be added through an as-yet-unformulated extension 
> mechanism rather than forming a part of the core element set, just 
> as should elements tied to (say) music or sport.

Well, you try explaining to everyone why they can no longer use these 
elements that have worked, and will continue to work, but instead have 
to use a yet to be defined extension, which isn't backwards compatible.

Remember that HTML5 is being developed through evolution, not 
revolution.  In the interest of not reinventing the wheel and paving the 
cowpaths, it's better to keep an existing, widely used feature instead 
of inventing a more theoretically pure feature for the same purpose.

>> var is one of the semantic uses for italics.  Sure, we could probably
>> drop it in favour of <i>, but then you and others would be complaining
>> even more about us creating a presentational language.
> This I don't understand at all : what is "a semantic use for italics" ???

I just meant that it's one example of semantics for which italics is a 
common typographical style.  Since you insist on being able to mark up 
semantics, instead of marking up presentation, then keeping <var> in 
preference to falling back to <i> seems to fit better with your point of 

Lachlan Hunt
Received on Monday, 14 May 2007 15:01:55 UTC

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