[html5] Basic question on some html5 tags

Markus Ernst derernst at gmx.ch
Mon Feb 27 06:02:52 PST 2012

Am 27.02.2012 13:06 schrieb Jukka K. Korpela:
> 2012-02-27 13:37, TD wrote:
>> I have discovered the following tags: header and footer.
>> While I understand that these tags help to structure the content of our
>> pages - which is always a good thing -, I don't really understand their
>> usefulness.
> They don't help to structure the content in any particular way; they are
> just supposed to be more concise _notations_ in markup.
>> Is it for accessiblity reasons: is it used by some special software?
> Probably not. It's just _possible_ that some screen readers would offer
> a "skip header" function, but I don't expect this to happen.
>> Is it for seo reasons: is our content better referenced if we use it?
> Hardly. Search engines _could_ treat <footer> as less important content,
> for example, but they have had the such a possibility with <div
> id="footer"> for a long time, and in the foreseeable future, <div
> id="footer"> will be much more common than <footer>.
>> Are there some other reasons that make it really useful and enough
>> important to give up old way of structuring code:(<div id="header">,
>> <div id="footer"> etc ...)
> The new tags are supposed to make coding easier. Of course this won't
> happen for many many years, if you pay due attention to old browsers as
> long as they survive. For real robustness, you would need to use _both_
> the new tags _and_ the old way, e.g.
> <header><div id=header>...</div></header>
> and what would be the point then? But you can use this approach if you
> have some faith on emerging useful support to such new tags in browsers,
> assistive software, and search engines.

Thank you both for asking and answering this question. Having assumed 
that applying a CSS declaration such as display:block to such elements 
would make legacy browsers render them consistently, I am actually quite 
shocked by reality. (You might have saved me some working hours and 
frustration, too...) I personnally don't see the point in duplication of 
elements such as <header><div id="header">...</div></header>, except 
maybe for the <nav> element.

I found some more background info on the topic here:

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