[whatwg] [html5] 2.8. Edits

Anne van Kesteren fora at annevankesteren.nl
Mon Apr 18 06:15:38 PDT 2005

Ian Hickson wrote:
> On Mon, 18 Apr 2005, Anne van Kesteren wrote:
>> Now I know backwards compatibility is important[1], but DEL and INS
>> are insanely complex to use and do not cover all "edit" use cases.
> Can you give some examples they don't cover?

Well, cases were you just want to note that something has changed, but 
not necessarily want to "markup" what has changed.

> I'm aware of some, for example to mark a list item as deleted you can only 
> mark the contents as deleted, not the item itself. But I don't see these 
> as major enough changes to require changing the edit markup model.

Deleting the entire document would be another one of those...

>> What XHTML2 does makes more sense to me (introducing a global 
>> attribute) and also covers the use cases you see most online.
> It looked to me like the use of an attribute in XHTML2 was actually a
> hack to get around limitations of DTDs and of CSS. HTML5's design
> isn't being constrained by either of those so I don't see why edit=""
> is better.

Well, XHTML is an XML language so it could make use of XML Schema or so 
which is capable of describing the semantics of DEL and INS I believe, 
although it would be a quite complicated schema.

|edit=""| is easier to use for tools that compare documents and only 
want to say some content has changed. I have the feeling it is easier 
overall, both to use when editing by hand and when code has to be 
processed by tools, but I'm not sure if I can prove it.

|edit=""| has indeed also some advantages with aspect to CSS, but that 
is besides the point.

>>Editing forum posts, weblog posts, etc. With forum posts there is mostly a
>>note that the user edited his comment but you never see "though<ins>t</ins>".
>>You see something like: "Last time edited: {date}".
> I actually see inline comments about when things were fixed more often 
> than I see "last edited", but that may just be the blogs I frequent.

I guess. Popular forum software like phpBB says that a comment/post has 
changed. I know some weblogs authors [insert info] but on the other hand 
most don't. Weblog software does (mostly) change the modified date of 
the entry though.

>> Now if you could say somehow that the contents of some element have
>> been modified
> You can. Wrap those bits you removed in a <del> and wrap the new bits
> in an <ins>.

That information is almost never stored. It would also make software 
insanely complex.

> The information is there with <ins>/<del> as well.

With INS/DEL you can not easily present it. The information is there, sure.

>> INS and DEL are IMHO not really appropriate for those kind of
>> edits.
> On the contrary, I think they are the kinds of edits most suitable to
> <ins>. It certainly leaves more metadata in the document.

If you want metadata you can do exactly the same with some attribute. 
For element wide changes you just add an attribute to the element 
(instead of wrapping the element in another element) and for local 
changes you use SPAN with an attribute.

  Anne van Kesteren

More information about the whatwg mailing list