[whatwg] Semantic styling languages in the guise of HTML attributes.

Matthew Raymond mattraymond at earthlink.net
Tue Dec 19 04:41:53 PST 2006

Mike Schinkel wrote:
> Bruce D'Arcus wrote:
>> In a world in which one CAN consider adding alternative 
>> attributes (HTML 5, etc.), it makes no sense to me one would 
>> simply say "no."
> [I'm cross posting to uf-discuss and whatwg because Bruce's comment was made
> on uf-discuss but I've made the same point on WHATWG.]
> Bruce, I agree with you completely. But Ian Hickson has said that AFAHK that
> there was no cry for additional attributes on the uf-discuss list, And Ian
> also said he saw no need for them after I requested to get several
> attributes added to the list of attributes applicable to all elements, i.e.
> abbr, href, name, rel, rev, scope, size, src, type, and value.
> I hadn't had the chance to ask the uf-discuss list about this, so now is a
> perfect time.   What about adding additional standard attributes to all
> elements.  Would it be helpful?

   No, because you don't understand what you're really developing. This
push for more global attributes in combination with the XHTML |rule|
attribute are an unconscious attempt to create a primitive semantic
styling language. It's a really complicated way of saying this:

| <element semanticstyle="this-semantic: A; that-semantic: B;"/>

   Think about it:

| <div semstyle="href: url(http://whatwg.org); rev-abbr: 'WHATWG';">
|   Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group
| </div>

   I'm not going to pretend I think this is a good idea, but you must
realize that the less you acknowledge that you're creating a semantic
styling mechanism, the worse your implementation of that mechanism will
be. I may not like the idea of semantics styling languages, but what I
like less is a series of half-a**ed unconscious attempts to create
semantics styling integrated into HTML.

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