[whatwg] [web-apps] 2.7.8 The i element

Mikko Rantalainen mikko.rantalainen at peda.net
Mon Apr 18 07:31:44 PDT 2005

Henri Sivonen wrote:
> On Apr 16, 2005, at 16:04, Ian Hickson wrote:
>>The question is: is the need a real need or a perceived need?
> Some print newspapers and magazines bold the first occurrence (per 
> article) of each personal name. (Is it actually useful? Dunno.) 
> [...]
>  From time to time, I am doubting the usefulness of avoiding of <b> and 
> <i> on principle, when it is, after all, bold and italic that is wanted 
> and not some generic change of appearance.

I think that "bold" isn't really what magazines are looking for in 
your example case. It's more like some kind of emphasize on first 
occurrence of person's name. I'd rather use <em>, somebody else 
might use <strong>. I still think that <b> isn't correct element to 
use in this case. Newspapers use bold just because it's *the* method 
  to emphasize text in that world. A web browser can do more.

That said, I think that <i> and <b> should be used where italized 
and bold text is the *traditional* way to display the information 
and the only other logical choice would be a <span>. If bolding is 
used to bring something more visible or to mark it a bit more 
important than everything else, <em> or <span> should be used instead.

I don't believe that HTML5 can change what <i> element means. It may 
say it means "instance" but users (web designers) are going to 
continue think "italic".

How about <e> for entity? A bit more semantic than <span> but 
doesn't hint rendering a little bit. Throw a "type" or "class" 
attribute in and you might have something usable.

<e type="person">Mikko</e>

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