[whatwg] Should <address> be more general-purpose?

Simon Pieters zcorpan at gmail.com
Tue Feb 27 09:33:52 PST 2007

On Tue, 27 Feb 2007 09:03:49 +0100, Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis  
<bhawkeslewis at googlemail.com> wrote:

> Simon Pieters wrote:
>> * Providing contact details of any type for any person or organisation.
> Would generalizing address to that extent would prevent automated agents
> being able to distinguish an <address> for a <article> (e.g. a blog
> comment) from an <address> mentioned in a <article>?

Yes. Do UAs need to know the scope of the <address>? What could they do  
with this information? (If it is important, then we could use a class name  
or a new attribute for this IMHO.)

> This would make it
> more difficult to construct functionality for citing by or replying to
> author.

<address> has been around forever. Yet no UA has done anything useful with  
its semantics as far as I know. That suggests to me that the use-case is  
not a real-world one. Isn't it better to make <address> more general so  
that its semantics is more like how most authors use it so that it becomes  
a convenient styling hook for authors?

> Creating an <author> element might help resolve that problem for
> new content, but then agents would have to sniff content to work out
> what sort of content was under investigation. A better alternative might
> be a new element <contactinfo>, which is a more general name than
> <address> and doesn't make old content more ambiguous.

I don't think it's a good idea to invent a new element when the use-case  
is so weak that most authors don't bother using it and no UA have  
implemented anything useful with it. I'd rather drop <address> altogether.

Simon Pieters

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