[whatwg] image captions

Michel Fortin michel.fortin at michelf.com
Wed May 3 06:19:12 PDT 2006

I wrote previously:

> Well, I'm all for using <caption> -- it obviously is the most  
> logical choice -- but, as stated in my first reply, the caption  
> element is completely ignored by today's HTML parsers when outside  
> the context of a table. This makes captions impossible to style or  
> use within the DOM. That's why I'm suggesting an alternative that  
> doesn't involve the caption element.

I'd like to revise what I said.

I just found out that at least one important HTML parser (Gecko)  
doesn't create the right DOM tree out of something as simple as this:

       <p>Some paragraph</p>

The tree will be as if you wrote this:

       </section><p>Some paragraph</p>

Why? Because unknown elements are considered inline and won't accept  
any block element within. This problem applies to <nav>, <header>,  
<footer>, and <aside> too (and maybe others).

The point I want to make is that because simple elements like section  
aren't really backward-compatible, there is probably no point in  
requiring that from image captions either. Hence it could be  
acceptable to allow the following markup even if current HTML parsers  
are ignoring caption:

       <caption>Some image</caption>
       <img src="...">

So here is what I'm proposing:

  - - -

The figure element

Block-level element, and structured inline-level element.

Contexts in which this element may be used:
     Where block-level elements are expected.
     Where structured inline-level elements are allowed.

Content model:
     Zero or one caption element followed by inline-level content.

The figure element contains an illustration of something related to  
the content surrounding it, but which can be considered separate from  
that content.

  - - -

I've chosen an inline-level content model because it allows not only  
img, but also structured inline-level elements like pre. I'm not so  
sure about that choice however.

Michel Fortin
michel.fortin at michelf.com

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