[html5] Using <section> and <h1> … Theoretical?

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Mon May 12 15:36:34 PDT 2014

On Fri, 9 May 2014, Micky Hulse wrote:
> Ok, so, W3C is changing the language, but what is WHATWG doing (or, have 
> plans to do)?

As you pointed out, some people are "hating" on <section> and <h1> and so 
on. It's not really clear to me why; the concerns haven't really been well 
explained IMHO. There's no plan to change any of this in the WHATWG spec. 
(I'm especially confused because this style actually comes from XHTML2, 
which was championed by the W3C.)

One thing to bear in mind is that in legacy browsers that don't support 
style sheets, and in some accessibility tools that haven't yet been 
updated to match the HTML spec, the "<section>" elements are "invisible" 
(unknown, treated like <div>). This leads to the <h1>s being treated as 
page headers in those UAs. To avoid this problem, while we wait for 
support to be more widely available, my recommendation is to use <h2>-<h6> 
with <section>, as in:


...instead of:


The spec defines these as semantically identical, precisely to enable this 
transition period. We'll be able to use the <section>/<h1> style without 
even this trouble eventually. If you're not interested in targetting those 
browsers (e.g. you're just writing something for your own use) then I 
wouldn't worry about any of this.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

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