[whatwg] Presentational elements in Web Applications 1.0
jg307 at cam.ac.uk
Tue Jan 17 11:00:18 PST 2006
Eugene T.S. Wong wrote:
> On Sat, 14 Jan 2006 04:39:29 -0800, Matthew Paul Thomas
> <mpt at myrealbox.com> wrote:
>> If authors -- or specifications -- try too hard to use a semantic
>> element, or to force other people to use it, it will be misused so
>> much that UAs can no longer trust the element to have any particular
>> meaning, so it will become de facto presentational.
> Yes! That is what I was trying to say earlier. The best case examples
> are inline strings which are typically italicized and bolded, but aren't
> being emphasized. The problem with using <EM> and <STRONG> in those
> situations is that these 2 elements have been stretched to include more
> than just emphasis.
Accepting mpt's argument for a moment, what is the semantic equivalent
of <center> or <big>? Even if we took the argument to your extreme and
shadowed every semantic element with a meaningless element with the same
default presentation in some reference graphical browser, there's no
place for <center>. I suppose <big> is a bit like <h1> but surely we
could just reintroduce <font> and be done with it? But you can't be
suggesting that sites which employ the <font> tag are superior to ones
that use CSS? I mean, they load slower, usually use <font> tags instead
of headings, which reduces the readability and accessibility of the page
and generally have a negative impact.
Whilst it is not implausible that a few select presentational elements
may improve the overall correct use of meaningful elements on the web,
history suggests that providing a raft of graphical presentational
elements at the markup-language level encourages the use of poor-quality
"It seems to be a constant throughout history: In every period, people
believed things that were just ridiculous, and believed them so strongly
that you would have gotten in terrible trouble for saying otherwise."
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