[whatwg] Web Forms 2.0 Feedback

Matthew Thomas mpt at myrealbox.com
Fri Jan 7 02:40:04 PST 2005

On 7 Jan, 2005, at 6:40 AM, Brad Fults wrote:
> ...
> When I read the arguments for <b> and <i>, I like to think of them as
> backwards-compatible synonyms for <strong> and <em>, respectively.
> Whether or not to keep <b> and <i> themselves is a choice of backwards
> compatibility over better-named semantic elements, IMO. But one must
> realize that they are just that--semantic elements (<strong> and <em>,
> that is).
> ...

That belief is widespread, but completely misinformed. <strong> and 
<em> have existed since the first HTML draft spec, right next to <b> 
and <i>. Then as now, authors were advised to use the semantic 
("logical") elements instead of the presentational ("physical") ones 
when possible.

HTML has always been a mixture of semantic elements for common 
semantics, and presentational elements for everything else. That 
combination has allowed it to remain both semantic enough for device 
independence and aggregation, and simple enough for popular use.

Matthew Thomas

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