[whatwg] Presentational elements in Web Applications 1.0

Eugene T.S. Wong lists.eugenetswong at gmail.com
Tue Jan 17 17:49:25 PST 2006

On Tue, 17 Jan 2006 14:59:10 -0800, James Graham <jg307 at cam.ac.uk> wrote:

> Or are you also in favor of <float-left> <float-right> and so on?

Are you seriously asking me this, or are you just making a point?

> As a more general point, the notion of tying a element to a particular  
> default presentation is weird because an author, a UA or a user can  
> override that default. This is why it's preferable to have meaningless  
> elements have the simplest possible style rules.

I'm beginning to loose track of what you are saying. Please don't explain,  
though, because I'm also beginning to loose interest. Seriously. I'd  
rather end this discussion.

>>  Well, font would have been used within good semantic markup,
> I assume you mean "would _not_ have been used...", otherwise I'm missing  
> your point.
>> without CSS, whereas what I am proposing is to use it with CSS. So,  
>> with the old way, using <FONT> means extra markup, most likely with no  
>> extra semantics. With my suggested way, there would be the same amount  
>> of elements as well made documents, and less markup than what is  
>> practised now by experts.

I meant "would have", because the point is that if we didn't have CSS,  
then <FONT> would have been used. Thus, I said, "font would have been used  
within good semantic markup, without CSS". Before CSS, people used <FONT>.  
Thus, there could have been good markup, but it would have been messed up  
with <FONT> and friends. I would not use <FONT> because we now have CSS. I  
said, "whereas what I am proposing is to use it with CSS". If I recall  
correctly, I meant "use the element that we are discussing with CSS", not  
the <FONT> element, and thus the page would be well structured.

> Less markup? How? Because you could write <big> rather than <div> and a  
> style deceleration?

No, so you could write <CENTER> instead of <DIV CLASS="foo"> plus the  
modifications in your style sheet. That's hardly any savings, but it is  
cleaner code.

Also, I never said that. <BIG> & <DIV> are completely different, and thus,  
I wouldn't consider replacing them or mixing them, unless the text content  
was unique.

The fact that you brought that up, even though that was the exact opposite  
 from what I had in mind, shows me that this discussion needs to end. It's  
creating the worst possible effects.

> So you propose saving a few bytes (maybe) at the expense of encouraging  
> authors to use markup that is device-specific (i.e. only applies to  
> graphical browsers), making it more likely that they will create  
> inaccessible sites "because the spec says you can use <big> to make text  
> big" (when what they reallky want is e.g. <h1>).

If they wanted a <H1> to represent a title, then they should have said so,  
and demonstrated it. I suppose that the WHAT-WG might have said so, but I  
thought that it was in the brainstorming stage. I admit that it is widely  
practised, but so the usage of <BR> and other problems.

> using CSS for positioning rather than tables (say) creates one, large,  
> cacheable, style file and a selection of smaller pages of markup which  
> generally loads faster, at least after the first page.

I totally agree.

> And I would rather see non-expects encouraged to learn which semantic  
> markup is useful (and, importantly, how users benefit) than create a  
> bloated spec full of presentational elements for every occasion.

I wouldn't want a bunch of presentational elements for every occasion.  
That's kind of my point.

> I certainly disagree with Ian that /all/ non-semantic markup should be  
> ditched


Which Ian? I thought that I saw 2 "Ian"s.

> If you use <center> or <big> to markup headings, text that is often both  
> large and centered, it prevents me from creating a useful navigational  
> outline of your page.

I don't think that I once encouraged the use of <BIG> to markup headings.  
I'm opposed to it. I'm also opposed to using <CENTER> to markup headings.  
I'm very surprised that you said this. Maybe this is getting to personal.  
People obviously aren't listening.

I must say that as I proofread this, I actually find it fascinating that  
you thought that that is what I was claiming. Maybe I mistyped or  
something, but I suspect it's a different case. I think that the  
discussion became somewhat heated to point that 2 ideas became merged due  
to how our memory works.

To everybody, please end this discussion with 1 last comment for the sake  
of a conclusion. I promise to try not to respond.

If there is anybody that agrees with any of my proposals, other than  
<MENU>, then please let me know off-list. I'd be interested in getting to  
know you.

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

More information about the whatwg mailing list