[whatwg] Suggestion: Implementation of Tabbed Forms

Lachlan Hunt lachlan.hunt at iinet.net.au
Mon Jun 28 19:49:11 PDT 2004

Matthew Raymond wrote:

> Joost Smit wrote:
>> Lachlan Hunt wrote:
>>>   No!  Tabs are a presentational, not structural, and thus should not 
>>> be included in (X)HTML, or any other semantic markup language.
>    While we're at it, let's get rid of <fieldset>, <hr> and <img>. They 
> can all be replaced by CSS anyway. Screw Lynx and other browsers that 
> may not completely support CSS!

I think you may have misunderstood me.  Tabs are presentational in the 
sense that they produce a set of tabs along the top, or down the side, 
or wherever else, that allows switching between each pane.  However, 
there is, of course, structure used to create those tabs.  ie. Each pane 
is a seperate section from the other panes, and this is the structure 
that should be marked up.  It should not be marked up that these 
sections should be displayed as tabs.  This should be left for the style 

> 1) Performance... For instance, the previous example flickers visibly...

   So what?  It doesn't flicker much, and isn't very irritating, since 
it isn't happening continuously.

> 4) Implementations that use CSS-styled <div> elements for tabs becomes 
> non-modular when the user wants to change the styling of the tabs.

What?  Seperating the structure, style and functionality is exactly what 
allows it to be kept modular.

> The user is forced to alter the CSS (and perhaps even the Javascript) to 
> change the look and feel of the tabs.

Of course the user would have to alter a stylesheet to alter the 
presentation of the tabs, how else would you expect them to?  They 
certainly shouldn't change the markup to achieve different presentation. 
  As for the fuction provided by the JS, this should be written as 
independantly from the style sheet as is possible.  There may be some 
limitations with being able to keep the script entirely seperate from 
the style, but these situations should be kept to an absolute minimum. 
So, the script shouldn't be adversely affected if the user changes the 

Lachlan Hunt

lachlan.hunt at lachy.id.au

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