[whatwg] href on any element

Keryx webb webmaster at keryx.se
Mon Sep 4 10:37:30 PDT 2006

Sorry for starting a thread and then being away for quite a while. I've been 
exceptionally busy!

Let's clarify some of my wishes:

Do I wish that the href-attribute is available on exactly *every* element? No, 
but on many *more* than today.

A. I do find myself writing a lot of:
<abbr title="foobar"><a href="foo">bar</a></abbr>
<dfn><a href="foo">bar</a></dfn>
<em><a href="foo">bar</a></em>

B. I also find myself writing large amounts of:
<li><a href="page1">Menuitem 1</a></li>
<li><a href="page2">Menuitem 2</a></li>

To make the whole LI-element clickable I have to resort to CSS
( ul#nav li a { display: block } ) which does not work in all browsers or 
JavaScript, which also is a hassle.

Why would it be better to loose the a-tags?
- Code-reduction is always a good thing! (The XLink solution means a lot of
   code => no reduction.)
- Convenience for hand-coders, whose work often make it into CMS-templates.

Will it break backwards compatibility? Yes, if todays browsers are supposed to 
be able to render WHATWG-pages. But there are lots of other things in WHATWG 
that they do not understand either. It's only the very latest browsers that can 
handle canvas. No browser fully implements Web Forms 2.0 (as far as I know).

Please point me to a document if I've got this wrong - I am after all a newbie 
on this list - but adding href on more elements is not *changing* todays HTML, 
but *adding* to it. Isn't that what HTML 5 is all about.

And how much it may be disliked by browser vendors, I still think they do intend 
to support XHTML 2.0, and need to prepare for a day when href is available on 
*most* elements, anyway.

Actually, if one dislikes XHTML 2.0, implementing its one "killer feature" in 
HTML 5 would make sense as well. Who would want to use XHTML 2.0 if it does not 
offer any significant advantage?

As Molly H writes:
"All I really, really want from XHTML 2.0 is href to be available for any 
element." (I'd like to change that to "many more elements than today") 

Lars Gunther

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