[whatwg] Re: Are the semantic inline elements really useful?
hsivonen at iki.fi
Wed Aug 31 08:02:46 PDT 2005
On Aug 31, 2005, at 00:04, Jasper Bryant-Greene wrote:
> Henri Sivonen wrote:
>> I think making the case for <cite> fails the explaining to mother
>> test. Chances are that there is something wrong with <cite> if I
>> don't know how to explain to my mother why she should use it instead
>> of the semantically empty italics. I cannot come up with any tangible
>> advantages. And I have been able to make the case for paragraphs and
> I can come up with several.
But you only mention two.
> Although you may think it unlikely now, you may like to change the
> styling of your cited works at some point in the future.
It is a risk. If the risk actualizes, the bad thing that happens is
that you have to do some work marking up the titles of the cited works
differently. The probability that this particular risk actualizes is
pretty low. Certainly lower than 1.
If you mitigate the effects of the risk actualizing by marking up the
titles of the cited works differently right now, the probability that
the bad thing (that you have to do some work marking up the titles of
the cited works differently) happens is 1!
Therefore, mitigating the effects of the risk actualizing does not make
sense assuming that the cost of using <cite> upfront is greater than
the cost of italicizing (it typically is) and the cost does not rise a
great deal if the task is postponed until the risk actualizes.
> link them to an external database of works, or
Why wouldn't you use straight links in the first place?
> generate a reference list.
The stuff you can scrape off <cite>s does not amount to the data
required for a proper reference list.
> These are just examples of the huge advantages of using meaningful
> semantic elements instead of presentational elements.
I wouldn't characterize the presented supposed advantages as "huge",
>> Aside: Now that I looked at the source of the literature list, I
>> noticed that some titles of works were marked up as <em>. my
>> hypothesis is that after an upgrade Dreamweaver has started using
>> <em> when pressing command-i. Sigh. See
Quoting from there:
> Surely <span class="taxonomical"> has more semantics than <i>?
Nope. That is a common fallacy. Semantic markup (in order to be useful
and not just a placebo) requires that the sender and recipient share
the understanding of the semantics of the markup vocabulary. If you
pull out English words out of your sleeve or stetson and use them in
class attributes (or as element names in your home grown XML vocabulary
for that matter), they are just meaningless opaque strings for a
recipient with whom you do not have an a priori agreement about the
<span class="taxonomical"> is no more semantic than <span
class="taksonominen"> or <span class="tshhdhhtntshshssnhnt">. OTOH, UAs
know a priori that <i> is supposed to be italicized.
hsivonen at iki.fi
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