[whatwg] WA1 - The Section Header Problem

fantasai fantasai.lists at inkedblade.net
Sat Nov 20 22:11:42 PST 2004

I think James Graham made a number of good points in his post, so I'm
pulling them out here. I agree with all of the below.

James Graham wrote:
>> The simple fact of the matter is that the <h#> elements are inferior
> Well they don't allow for robust structuring. They are, however, 
> excellent for creating semi-structured documents or documents where 
> different sets of heading information are required. Note that many 
> documents on the web could be well described as semi-structured.
>                           ... Backward-compatibility is not a measure of 
> how similar a document looks to a document in the previous version of a 
> language. Backwards comaptibility is about the UA's interpretation of a 
> document. If a document has different meaning depending on which spec 
> you're reading, backward compatibility has been lost.
>                                  ...give authors the flexibility of a 
> two-component system for structuring and heading documents without 
> trying to shoehorn all documents on the web into a formal-report style 
> that they simply don't have? Why break backwards compatibility in a spec 
> specifically designed to retain compatibility with existing UAs?
> Backwards compatibility must be maintained. <h1> to <h6> must represent 
> headings. Given the abuse of headings-as-structure on the existing web 
> there may be some leeway in (re)defining the way that the headings 
> interact to give e.g. an outline/toc.
> ...
> Multiple headings per section will probably happen anyway. So we may as 
> well allow them.
> ...
> Many documents on the web do not have a formal structure of the sort 
> that would be edxpected in a legal report. The heading model should be 
> able to cope with that.
> It has to be possible to get an unambigous structure from the headings 
> of a document. This means having an algorithm in the spec that UAs can 
> implement that will give a 'tree view' of the document structure.


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