[whatwg] level attribute

juanrgonzaleza at canonicalscience.com juanrgonzaleza at canonicalscience.com
Mon Aug 7 03:22:12 PDT 2006

Jonathan Worent said:
> --- juanrgonzaleza at canonicalscience.com wrote:
>> Jonathan Worent said:
>> >
>> > I think a level attribute is better than nesting because it allows
>> for reducing the emphasis/importance below  normal. Nesting can only
>> increase this.
>> Not necesarily.
>> <em>level-1<em>level-2</em></em>
>> <em class="dem">level-2<em class="dem">level-1</em></em>
>> define proper CSS rules for <em class="dem">
> And what if the css is ignored? The text gets emphesized instead of
> de-emphesized, which totally changes the meaning of the text. Using a
> level attribute make the meaning of the text explicit to
> the markup. Let me explain that. The fact that some text is given more
> or less emphesis/importance
> than other text changes its meaning. That should therefore be conveyed
> in the html. You can use css to modigy the way is it interpreted, but if
> the css is ignored the meaning is not changed.

Well, sure but why would the css be ignored?

Moreover, how would the level attribute degrade to old UAs. HTML 4
compatible systems would understand incorrectly the em structure, changing
the meaning also.

>> but more natural appears to be changing the markup for deemphasizing.
>> <em><em>level-2</em><em>level-1</em>
> Can you give an example using proper sentince structure. I think there
> would be some instances where rearranging the sentince would be better
> but not in most cases.

I cannot see any case where a level-n attribute cannot be represented as n
nested <em>s.

>> > I understand that this is not backwards compatible. But, IMHO,
>> neither is nesting elements. Future browsers already will have to
>> change to understand that nesting em or strong increases
>> emphasis/importance. They could also be changed to understand the
>> level attribute.

Take your example:

I don't spend every waking moment on the computer, <strong
level="-1">although my wife thinks otherwise</strong>.

A _current_ browser (asuming that can ignore the level attribute) would

I don't spend every waking moment on the computer, <strong>although my
wife thinks otherwise</strong>.

changing the meaning.

>> > If this cannot be done then I would suggest as an alternative: Add 2
>> new elements. One for indicating de-emphasis, One of indicating less
>> importance. I leave the naming of them to you.

I do not understand this. We begin from a level-0 in HTML and next we add
levels of emphasis with <em>. Then

<p>normal level, <em>emphasis simple, <em>emphasis double</em> emphasis
simple again</em></p>

If i want eliminate a level of emphasis simply close the </em> and i
recover an inferior level. There is not need for a de-emphasis <dem>

<p>normal level, <em>emphasis simple, <em>emphasis double<dem> emphasis
simple again</dem></em></p>

>> The advantage of nesting and reason for the new heading model of
>> XHTML2 is in that you do not need be aware of structure at each
>> instant. Absolute levels h1, h2, h3... are to be avoided in next
>> XHTML2. Why would we reintroduce it in <em> and <strong> now?
>> I also find problems with CSS and definition of levels. Is level="2"
>> absolute, i.e. independent of position of <em>, or relative, i.e.
>> level="2" over level="0" defined by container?
> I'm not totally sure what you mean. <strong level="3"> should have more
> importance than <strong level="2"> no matter the nesting. Of course, it
> would be bad practice to skip levels.

In current HTML, heading levels are absolute. This mean that when you
modify the structure of any doc, e.g. simply copying and pasting a
fragment into other doc the heading structure usually change obligating to
you to retype the whole document. This is very odd whith dinamic docs and
multi-authoring and editing of docs. Absolute levels were eliminated from
next XHTML2 (in fact other approaches were using relative levels for



XHTML2 (and other approaches) works


now i copy and paste into other doc



The XHTML structure is automatically updated, the HTML structure is not
and may be admended now to


Similar thoughts apply to absolute levels of emphasis.

>> > Thank you,
>> > Jonathan

I personally hate absolute levels of anything in a dynamic world as the
web is but can understand that some people prefer the contrary.

Juan R.


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