[whatwg] Menus, fallback, and backwards compatibility: ideas wanted

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Mon Dec 12 18:05:45 PST 2005

On Sat, 10 Dec 2005, Sander Tekelenburg wrote:
> Ah. Maybe I misunderstood your aim then. I got the impression there was 
> also talk of "navigation menus" in this thread. Is the idea then that 
> <nav> may contain <menu>, to define a menu to be for navigation? (I'll 
> assume this for the example below.) Or did I completely misunderstand 
> and is menu not meant to be used for navigation at all?

Well, the menu feature is not being _designed_ for navigation, but I'm 
sure that authors would try to use it for navigation. There is a clear 
demand on Web sites today for menu-based navigation.

> "menu"
> attributes: type, etc.
> type attribute values:
> 	- import
> 	Informs the user agent that the document's LINK elements are to be
> imported (as list items) into the menu. If the <menu> element is empty,
> user-agents may choose to not draw the menu at all but instead provide access
> to the LINK elements through a meta mechanism, such as a LINKs Toolbar for
> example.
> Example markup:
> <head>
> <link rel="home" HREF="index.html" title="Home">
> <link rel="contents" HREF="toc.html" title="TOC">
> <link rel="help" HREF="help.html" title="Help">
> <link rel="search" HREF="search.html" title="Search">
> <link rel="address" HREF="address" title="Contact">
> </head>
> <body>
> <nav>
> <menu type="import">
> </menu>
> </nav>
> </body>

This seems like a highly presentational idea -- that is, something that 
would be better addressed using CSS or XBL, or a server-side transform 

It also would not degrade very gracefully -- UAs that support neither 
<link> nor <menu type="import"> would show nothing.

Here's an alternative proposal to do the same thing:

  <menu type="commands" label="Navigation">
   <a rel="home" href="index.html">Home</a>
   <a rel="contents" href="toc.html">TOC</a>
   <a rel="help" href="help.html">Help</a>
   <a rel="search" href="search.html">Search</a>
   <a rel="address" href="address">Contact</a>

The UA can still take the link types out and make the toolbar, if it wants 
to do so, as the semantics are still there.

(Note to eager <menu> spec designers: no, I have no idea if that's what I 
want it to look like.)

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

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