[whatwg] Footnotes, endnotes, sidenotes

Sander Tekelenburg tekelenb at euronet.nl
Mon Nov 6 09:32:00 PST 2006

At 07:04 -0500 UTC, on 2006-11-06, Matthew Raymond wrote:


> | <p annotation="my-footnote">
> |   This paragraph has a footnote
> |   <a rel="annotation" href="#my-footnote"><sup>[1]</sup></a>.
> | </p>

What if you want multiple footnotes in the one paragraph?

This <span annotation="my-footnote">paragraph<a rel="annotation"
href="#my-footnote"><sup>[1]</sup></a></span> <span
annotation="my-other-footnote">has two footnotes<a rel="annotation"

Like that?

> | [...]
> | <footnote>
> |   <p>References:</p>
> |   <al>
> |     <ol>
> |       <li id="my-footnote">
> |         <p>This footnote can contain block-level elements!</p>
> |       </li>
> |     </ol>
> |   </al>
> | </footnote>


>    The <a hrel="annotation"> and its contents, when the child of an
> element that has an |annotation| attribute, can be ignored by the user
> agent and replaced with an annotation-specific presentation.

That would be good yes. The spec should then explicitly state that UAs may do
this (or perhaps are even encouraged to do this). It would probably be good
to provide some examples of possibilities even.

> If the
> |annotation| attribute is left off, the user agent can assume that the
> parent of an <a rel="annotation"> element is the context of the annotation.

What I miss in this is something to help users return from the footnote to
where they were in the main text. I think we need to consider that a
requirement. What about a rev="my-footnote" attribute on the al list item, to
allow UAs to offer users a mechanism to return to where they came from?
(Downside would be that this would revive that old rel/rev can of worms...)

Another thing is that whether the annotation should be considered a footnote,
endnote or whateverelsenote seems to me a presentational issue, so I'm not
that enthusiastic about calling it a <footnote> element. Why not simply
<annotation>? You can then allow the author to decide where in the page, or
in a group of pages, to place the <annotation> element, and use CSS for the
presentational aspects. (You could allow the same with <foonote>, but that
name suggest it must only be used for footnotes.)

Sander Tekelenburg, <http://www.euronet.nl/~tekelenb/>

More information about the whatwg mailing list