[whatwg] The IMG element, proposing a CAPTION attribute

James Graham jg307 at cam.ac.uk
Wed Nov 22 07:32:35 PST 2006

Alexey Feldgendler wrote:
> On Wed, 22 Nov 2006 20:42:11 +0600, Michel Fortin <michel.fortin at michelf.com> wrote:
>> So I propose a new <fcaption> elements -- for "figure caption" -- in
>> replacement for the <caption> element in my previous figure construct:
>>      <figure>
>>        <fcaption>Caption Text</fcaption>
>>        <img src="...">
>>      </figure>
>> And if I were to propose a default styling for this, it'd be this one:
>>      figure { display: table; }
>>      fcaption { display: table-caption; }
> <figure> cannot be used like this:
> <table>
>    <thead>
>      <tr>
>        <th>Painting</th>
>        <th>Title</th>
>        <th>Author</th>
>      </tr>
>    </thead>
>    <tbody>
>      <tr>
>        <td><img id="img1" src="..."></td>
>        <td><label for="img1" type="title">Mona Lisa</label></td>
>        <td>Leonardo da Vinci</td>
>      </tr>
>      ...
>    </tbody>
> </table>

In general I think that having <img> and <imgcaption> (or whatever they are 
called) enclosed by a single element is a better idea since the increased 
simplicity makes rendering easier. For example, how would you expect a browser 
to render this?:

<img id="bar">
<imgcaption for="bar">Pictures are nice!</imgcaption>

In all current UAs I guess it would render something like:

Pictures are nice

But I can't think of many situations where a figure's caption should be separate 
from the figure itself and, from the discussion above, it seems that some people 
would expect:

Pictures are nice

Which is hard (impossible?) to implement in legacy clients (e.g. via script, if 
the DOM is to be unchanged) and harder to implement in future clients.

Another issue to consider is the possibility of multiple images with a single 
caption (this is very common in scientific papers, print magazines, etc.). A 
construct like
might be enough to support this (the details are, I think, non-trivial); 
something that requires the caption to point to exactly one image cannot.

"Eternity's a terrible thought. I mean, where's it all going to end?"
  -- Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

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