W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > May 2007

Re: "Pave The Cowpaths" Design Principle

From: Frank Hellenkamp <jonas@depagecms.net>
Date: Wed, 16 May 2007 17:13:02 +0200
To: "John Foliot" <foliot@wats.ca>
Cc: "'Maciej Stachowiak'" <mjs@apple.com>, "'Gervase Markham'" <gerv@mozilla.org>, public-html@w3.org, www-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <464B1F53.1060600@depagecms.net>

> The problem boils down to this - some knowledgeable developers *did* use  
> and
> respect meaningful semantic class names, but many, many didn't.  And CSS
> @class selectors have been much more widely deployed than microformats -
> hell Brian Suda and Tantek Celik are still out giving "microformats 101"
> talks weekly (it seems).  So, rightly or wrongly, class="" has morphed  
> into
> a display selector due to poor user knowledge.  This, in and of itself,
> isn't bad, but it puts the accessibility consideration into a tight  
> spot; if
> you are stating that class="" also conveys a semantic construct, but half
> the time it doesn't, then it's broken before it even gets a chance to get
> started.  So while the knowledgeable developers might have been doing the
> right thing, the evolutionary process of @class sidetracked this, and has
> polluted the ideal.

And there is one important difference between "microformats" and
defining single class attributes as semantic:

The available microformats [1] like "vcard" or "vcalendar" use a
specific structure of class names and elements - not a single class name
like the following:

<p class="copyright">This is nonesense</p>

The single-class-construct could easily happen accidentely.
In the following vcard-example it is highly unlikely, that a
webdeveloper used these class names without knowing about microformats
and using them in exactely that sense:

<div class="vcard">
  <div class="adr">
   <div class="org fn">
    <div class="organization-name">Sprinkler Fitters U.A. Local 483</div>
    <div class="organization-unit extended-address">Apprenticeship
Training Center</div>
   <div class="street-address">2531 Barrington Court</div>
   <span class="locality">Hayward</span>,
   <abbr title="California" class="region">CA</abbr>
   <span class="postal-code">94545</span>

And you can expect from a community, which uses microformats, that it
could easily learn to use @role or another attribute, which is made
specifically for that specific purpose. Especially more than from the
common webauthor, who used something like the copyright classname.

And tools, that recognise microformats now, could easily extended to
recognize @role too, if they detect a HTML5-document.

best regards,

frank hellenkamp

[1] http://microformats.org

frank hellenkamp | interface designer
jonas@depagecms.net | mail

+49.30.49 78 20 70 | tel
+49.173.70 55 781 | mbl
+49.1805.4002.243 912 | fax


Received on Thursday, 17 May 2007 16:13:32 UTC

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