[whatwg] Footnotes, endnotes, sidenotes

James Graham jg307 at cam.ac.uk
Tue Oct 31 07:16:36 PST 2006

Alexey Feldgendler wrote:
> On Tue, 31 Oct 2006 20:30:44 +0600, James Graham <jg307 at cam.ac.uk> wrote:
>>>     <p>Some text <span class="sidenote">this is a sidenote to put
>>>        in the margin</span> and some other text.</p>
>> This seems to have a poor backward compatibility story - in a non-supporting
>> UA the note ends up in the flow.
> It can be styled to float and/or relocated by a client-side script.

Which won't work in the absence of CSS or javascript - not unprecedented in the 
spec but surely a disadvantage. How well will this markup work in an existing 

>> Indeed. +1 on this general idea -1 on the precise markup, in particular the
>> <div><ol> structure for the list of notes (this should be a new element, if
>> possible) and the use of <sup>. It would also be nice to reduce some of the
>> excess baggage on the <a> element, if possible.
> The drawback of the tranditional markup is that it requires knowing the ordinal number of the footnote in advance.

Indeed. I think HTML would benefit from some general solution for providing 
numbered references (indeed, I brought this up before), not just for footnotes 
but also for e.g. sections, elements in lists, bibliographies, etc. One can 
imagine simple markup like

<ref to="idref">fallback content</ref>

but I think there are issues with parsing documents containing such references.

"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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