[html5] <article> for ecommerce product?

Dominic Morgan dom at d3r.com
Wed Jul 20 05:01:39 PDT 2011

Thanks for your response.

On 20 July 2011 11:54, Jukka K. Korpela <jukka.k.korpela at kolumbus.fi> wrote:

> The question is: What do you expect to achieve by adding <article> (or any
> other) markup to the common approach? Browsers do not do anything with
> <article> by default, and explicit styling is a little more wrok than
> styling <div> (as IE needs to be told about <article> in JavaScript), and no
> search engines have been reported to pay any attention.
> So this is rather theoretical at present, or let us say future-oriented
> with a lot of uncertainties: If and when browsers, search engines, and other
> software will start doing something on <article> based on its specification,
> will that be good or bad for product info items marked up as <article>? For
> product _news_, the answer would be "good, if <article> is good for
> anything". For product _info_, it's not quite as clear but pretty clear: as
> long as the product info can be treated as a piece of information that can
> be copied and pasted at will without distorting things or making things
> obscure, the answer is "good".

I entirely agree. Right now there is little or nothing to be gained from
doing this. However, we have to start somewhere and try to work out what
best practice should be at some point. Now is as good as any. Also, what
benefit one can gain from using these new semantic tags (certainly in terms
of SEO) will partly be determined by how people do actually use them. I
would prefer to get it right and maybe even set a good example than to just
use divs and forget about it until we know what Google wants.

> This means, like for any <article> candidate, that the contents should
> constitute something that is understandable and meaningful out of context.
> It should not imply any of the surrounding content as background. Rather,
> it's something you could print out and hand out or send to a prospective
> customer. This is because <article> elements should be _expected_ to be
> handled that way - torn away from a document and copied elsewhere as such
> (or sometimes as annotated).

This is where I start to have issues with the spec. Are the contents of an
<article> tag supposed to make sense out of context or not? To me a
"user-submitted comment" is not a "self-contained composition". Outside the
context of the original post it often makes little or no sense at all. The
clarification about nesting goes some way to addressing this but not far.

Maybe it would be useful to add something like the following:

An article element may also consist of product information, place
> description, or data about a person, as long as it is understandable and
> meaningful even when taken out of the context.

Indeed it would. If that's what the intended meaning was. I suspect that the
reason blog and news posts are used as examples is that they fit more
intuitively with the name of the tag rather than that the scope of the
element is limited to them.

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