[whatwg] Semantics in HTML (was: Re: Joe Clark's Criticisms of the WHATWG and HTML 5)

Anne van Kesteren fora at annevankesteren.nl
Wed Nov 1 14:17:54 PST 2006

On Wed, 01 Nov 2006 20:55:58 +0100, James Graham <jg307 at cam.ac.uk> wrote:
>>> And HTML5 isn't that semantically pure anyway.
>>  Where can it be improved?
> To take a slight detour into the (hopefully not too) abstract, what do  
> people think the fundamental point of semantics in HTML is?

I've no idea.

I do know that HTML has to work for both documents and web applications.  
It should probably offer elements for all things you often come accross in  
either type. Those elements should then not have any presentational aspect  
(apart from the name and default styling) and be defined in an  
sufficiently abstract way.

We do want things like:

   <h1>Stargate Atlantis</h1>

We probably don't want things like:

   <sci-fi-serie-title>Stargate Atlantis</sci-fi-serie-title>

Although I suppose that at some point you do want to able to express the  
latter. That's a different discussion though.

> Henri has been talking about the possibility of making HTML5 more  
> "semantically lax", and here Anne is interested in where it is not  
> "semantically pure", presumably with a desire to fixing it.

More trying to find out what other people want. But yeah, if there are  
problems we should try to fix them.

> [...] I also don't know which view best fits my position because I don't  
> really understand what people are trying to achieve with (the markup in)  
> HTML -- I think there are things I would change in the current draft,  
> but there seems little point talking about which markup elements should  
> or shouldn't exist without having some overall framework against which  
> the merit of various proposals can be measured.

How would such a framework be defined?

Anne van Kesteren

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