[whatwg] Predefined classes are gone

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Tue Aug 7 23:12:14 PDT 2007

On Thu, 17 May 2007, Michel Fortin wrote:
> Le 2007-05-17 à 12:22, Adrienne Travis a écrit :
> > 
> > A lot of us loved the IDEA of predefined "classes", but didn't like 
> > the idea of confusing THAT mechanism with the CSS class mechanism.
> Personally, I really don't like thinking of class="" exclusively as a 
> mechanism to associate styles. The fact that CSS makes it easy to select 
> on a class name doesn't mean that class names are targeted at CSS. 
> Predefined class names made that clear, now it's less clear.
> While not much in favor at first, I started to like the idea of 
> predefined class names after a while. What I like is that it doesn't try 
> reinvent a new parallel mechanism for what class *should have been* from 
> the start. I think the initial idea was that the class attribute would 
> cover the the semantics while CSS the presentation of those semantics. 
> The only problem is that earlier specs left those semantics undefined, 
> with no way to define them unambiguously. This explains why many people, 
> including some standard advocates, started thinking of class as a way to 
> attach style rules of the same name to their elements (basically making 
> class presentational).
> So either we fix class, or we create a new attribute (role) (and leave 
> class as a purely presentational hook for CSS? Hurk!). The advantage of 
> class is that it's a lot easier to use in CSS selectors, making authors 
> more likely to use them. The advantage of role is that it begins in a 
> clean state, which could mean less false-positive -- I'm not sure this 
> will stay true in the long run however, especially if people see role as 
> "more semantic" than class and start to use it inconsiderably...
> I'd tend to think there are use cases where class is most appropriate 
> and others where it'd be better to start with a clean new attribute 
> (role), but that's just a general feeling based on everything I've seen 
> to date.

I agree entirely with the sentiment given above, but I don't know what to 
do about it. Suggestions? Is there some way to change the phrasing of the 
spec for class="" to help here?

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
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