[whatwg] Re: <section> and headings

Anne van Kesteren fora at annevankesteren.nl
Sun Aug 29 02:49:49 PDT 2004

>>> WA1 defines something like this, re-using <h1> for the heading
>>> element.
>> Instinctivley I dislike this proposal but I'm not sure I can
>> easilly explain why.
>> My first objection is that changing the meaning of <h1> isn't
>> backward compatible for assistive technologies.
> The way it is defined now, _any_ header element can be used,
> specifically to allow it to be backwards compatible with existing
> UAs. The <h1> is defined as being the only element that automatically
> gets restyled to match the <section> nesting, though.

I don't really like it either. The way it is defined is that H1-H6 all 
get the same semantic meaning, right?



Would be the same as H1, H2, H2, right?

> Well, I'm not really sure how else to do it. Do you have any
> suggesitons?

The only thing I can come up with is to introduce the H element and use 
that instead of the H1 element. If authors want to be backwards 
compatible you can let them use the in HTML 4.01 defined heading 
elements, but you shouldn't change the semantics of those with regard to 
  the position in the document. (How deep they are nested inside SECTION.)

>> I also think that using <h1> as a general purpose heading is really
>>  really ugly. But that's not much of an objection.
> I don't disagree. But it is backwards compatible.

Not really. If search engines don't get upgraded to support this new 
kind of H1 semantic all kinds of documents can be indexed wrong or they 
can be marked inappropriate because they mis-use the H1 element in the 
eyes of the search engine. (The same as with creating a page full of 
links, but now you are mis-using a heading element.)

>    <heading>
>     <h1>Page title</h1>
>    </heading>
>    <section>
>     <h1>Content title</h1>
>    </section>
> (For backwards compatibility, the second <h1> in all the above can be 
> written as <h2> without changing the WA1-defined semantics.)

So why do we need to have a H1 in the first place? Can't we introduce H 
for within SECTION and have H1-H6 for backwards compatibility? (I guess 
that when search engines support H and SECTION from HTML 5.0 authors can 
easily switch since the majority of browsers support styling pretty well.)

  Anne van Kesteren

More information about the whatwg mailing list