[whatwg] Re: <section> and headings
lachlan.hunt at iinet.net.au
Sun Aug 29 08:42:56 PDT 2004
James Graham wrote:
> The semantics of h1...h6 elements that are the first h1...h6 child of a
> <section> element is the heading for that section. Subsequent h1...h6
> elements in the same <section> are subheadings...
> When a h1...h6 element is the child of a <section> element, UAs which
> contruct a document outline must do so from the depth of "section"
> nesting alone and ignore which of h1...h6 is used...
This is a conceptually bad idea because it alters the defined semantics
of <hn> elements and combines it with XHTML2-style, structured headings.
Doing this essentially says that h1 to h6 are exactly the same, which
they are not. While I'd support the addition of <section> elements, I
do not support altering the semantics of existing elements. If
<section> were introduced for the purpose of structuring a document,
than an <h> element should also be introduced for the headings. But, I
believe that would not be backwards compatible with IE, as it be
ignored, and unstylable like every other new element when served as
If you really want *numbered* heading levels to be determined by their
structure level, I'd prefer it be done using numbered sections, similar
to the numbered divs found in the ISO HTML  because at least that
preserves the semantics of the hn elements. But, I also don't think
that's a good idea because it adds too many extra elements, which will
not be understood, nor used correctly by anyone. It may also make
documents more difficult to maintain. So, personally, I think the
semantics of <hn> elements should not be changed, but that doesn't mean
<section> can't be introduced.
> The most obvious use case I have in mind would be a UA hiding certian
> sections of the page so that the content was easilly accessible. It
> might therefore be goood to have a general purpose <chrome> element
I would not support a <chrome> element because that is the term often
used to refer to the application interface styles, and has absolutely
nothing to do with being a sectoin.
> to denote a section of the page other than the main content. One could then
> subdivide using an attribute (<chrome type="header"> <chrome
> type="footer"> and so on).
DO NOT overload the type attribute any more than it already is. We had
this discussion a few months ago when I was paying more attention to
this work, and several people were suggesting the use of type for
various things. The type attrubue *SHOULD* only be used for denothing
the MIME type of a resource, and for form controls. HTML4 already
overloaded the attrbute with 10 different uses; 8 of them being
presentational, and thus deprecated.
>> We'll probably keep it to a minimum though. The idea is just to relieve
>> the most common pseudo-semantic uses of <div>.
> Ideally we could get a large sample of actual sites to find out what the
> most common uses acttually are. Is there an existing bot avaliable that
> would allow one to spider (part of!) the web and extract the classnames
> given to <div> elements?
Andy Clarke did a study a few months back on the most common section
ids, to determine what a general site consists of, and published his
results [2 - 4]. Maybe that could help with determining semantics for
lachlan.hunt at lachy.id.au
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