[html5] <nav> for external links?

Brandon Hale absolutehalo at gmail.com
Fri Apr 29 12:06:57 PDT 2011

Hey guys,

Dismiss me if I sound like an amatuer but I wanted to make a comment and
follow it with questions (in relation to this topic of course).


I have always interpreted <head> to envelop information that the browser
does not present to the user but interprets for the sake of the user
(styles, scripts, meta, etc.). I have always interpreted <body> to envelop
the information that the browser presents directly to the user.

If that is a correct interpretation, I don't think it makes sense to place
navigational links in <head>. Reading this discussion has me wondering if
the <head> and <body> tags themselves are not semantically proper. Several
of my peers and I just discussed wether or not both <head> and <body> are
slowly becoming the wrong terms to use. No doubt our discussions about
websites are becoming more and more more about "application" and less and
less about "document". I couldn't help but wonder if <head> and <body> are
slowly being deprecated just by the natural progression of the technology.

Questions (in comment form):

Is there any drawbacks or major reasons why <head> could not take on a more
meaningful name like <meta> (Granted that element is already in play but I
wonder if it makes greater sense to have <meta></meta> defined as a
"container" for all the information the browser needs to interpret for the

Further, what stipulations or arguments are present for or against <body>
becoming <content></content>. At that point, <nav> being placed in the
content are makes sense (as well as <header>, <aside>, <footer>, etc).

A dev team peer had a bit of a different take. He suggested that perhaps any
info that is not direct html content could exist the same way as <!DOCTYPE>
and lives "outside" the DOM, while <html> could take the place of <body>.

I do not claim to be an expert by any means and I am most certain that more
knowledgable people exist on this list. I simply wanted to present the
observation and questions for the sake of learning. Feel free to riddle
those observations with bullet holes. I'll learn either way.

On Fri, Apr 29, 2011 at 1:32 PM, Jacob Kristensen <admin at blueboden.com>wrote:

> So you're arguing that <head> should contain only <script>s and <style>s?
>> Information in <body> is highly context sensitive, but information in
>> <head> may be rendered before the <body>, after or injected into it. I
>> find
>> <head>
>> <link rel="related" type="image/jpeg" href=./complementary-image>
>> </head>
>> more logical....
> Head has other uses, and could have other uses in the future. But its just
> overkill to use for navigation links.
> Even links to related pages doesn't make sense to include in the head, as
> this would indicate that its related to the document or page as a whole,
> rather then the specific section otherwise indicated by using the relewant
> elements.
> In the case where the designers has chosen to make use of it, they would
> still have to include a normal navigation somewhere in the body, which would
> just double their work.
> Besides. You can't really control where the browser puts the information
> taken from the head. Say, if you have put some navigation links in the head
> section, you would likely still want to control where it should be placed
> visually on a page.
> So i really don't think its the best way to create links to related stuff.
> It may have its limited use in static documents, but using nav is likely
> better, if for nothing else, to at least maintain some consistency as of how
> things are done.
> Jacob Kristensen
> http://blueboden.com/
> _______________________________________________
> Help mailing list
> Help at lists.whatwg.org
> http://lists.whatwg.org/listinfo.cgi/help-whatwg.org
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