[whatwg] <BIG> Element

Eugene T.S. Wong lists.eugenetswong at gmail.com
Fri Jan 13 15:05:50 PST 2006

On Fri, 13 Jan 2006 14:20:05 -0800, Lachlan Hunt  
<lachlan.hunt at lachy.id.au> wrote:

> Eugene T.S. Wong wrote:
>> I noticed that there is a <SMALL> element, but no <BIG> element. Is  
>> there a specific reason for this?
> Both of them are quite presentational,

<I> & <B> are presentational as well.

> but there is an attempt to redefine the small element with some semantic  
> meaning.

If that is true, then I encourage the WHATWG to use another name, such as  
<FINEPRINT>ASDF</FINEPRINT>. It is a lot longer, but it does convey more  

> The same cannot be said for big, it is (and probably always will be)  
> presentational, and therefore has no place in a semantic markup language.

A semantic markup language can't possibly have every single type of  
semantic out there. There are some cases that are so rare, that it would  
be a waste to define them. Sometimes <BIG> really does convey something.  
For example:

<P>I said, "<BIG>NO!</BIG>".</P>
<P><BIG>YES!!</BIG> I will do it!</P>
<P><BIG><BIG>NO!</BIG></BIG> You will not!</P>
<P><BIG><BIG>YES!!</BIG></BIG> I will do it!</P>
<P><BIG><BIG><BIG>NO!</BIG></BIG></BIG> You will not!</P>
<P><BIG><BIG><BIG>YES!!</BIG></BIG></BIG> I will do it!</P>
<P><BIG><BIG><BIG><BIG>NO!</BIG></BIG></BIG></BIG> You will not!</P>
<P><SMALL>Oh, alright...</SMALL></P>

I suppose that you could argue that CSS would create the same effect, but  
you shouldn't have to use CSS to create the effect of a shouting match.  
Besides, those words would have to be surrounded by elements, anyways, so  
it wouldn't hurt to use an element that has a default style. There is  
nothing wrong with using a non-semantic element that has a default style  
as opposed to <SPAN class="shout">YES</SPAN>. The problems of the past  
arose because:

1) people used the wrong semantic elements
2) people used non-semantic elements where there were semantics

In the above scenario, there are semantics, but there are no semantic  
elements to convey shouting. The elements are modifiable by CSS. I suppose  
that we could nest <STRONG> a few times, but I don't recognize strong  
emphasis as the same thing as shouting.

Also, it might be helpful to use <BIG> for math problems, without having  
to resort to MathML.

What do you think?

Sincerely, and with thanks,
Eugene T.S. Wong

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