[whatwg] contenteditable, <em> and <strong>

Simon Pieters zcorpan at hotmail.com
Wed Jan 10 04:40:55 PST 2007


From: Henri Sivonen <hsivonen at iki.fi>
>Two of the four implementations that the WHATWG cares about  interoperate. 
>Is it worthwhile to disrupt that situation—especially  considering 
>that changes to Trident are the hardest for the WHATWG to  induce?

Does the interoperability matter much in this case?

>My conclusion is that semantic markup has failed in this case. <em>  and 
><i> are both used primarily to achieve italic rendering on the  visual 
>media. <strong> and <b> are both primarily used to achieve  bold rendering 
>on the visual media. Regardless of which tags authors  type or which tags 
>their editor shortcuts produce, authors tend to  think in terms of encoding 
>italicizing and bolding instead of  knowingly articulating their profound 
>motivation for using italics or  bold. Even those who have heard about the 
>theoretical reasons for  using <em> and <strong> tend to decide which one 
>to use based on  which one has the preferred default visual presentation 
>for the case  at hand.
><em>, <strong>, <i> and <b> have all been in HTML for over a decade.  I 
>think that’s long enough to see what happens in the wild. I think  it 
>is time to give up and admit that there are two pairs of visually- oriented 
>synonyms instead of putting more time, effort, money, blog  posts, spec 
>examples and discussion threads into educating people  about subtle 
>differences in the hope that important benefits will be  realized once 
>people use these elements the “right” way.
>Compare with: http://ln.hixie.ch/?start=1137799947&count=1

Well... in that case <strong> needs to be defined as being equivalent to <b> 
and <em> equivalent to <i>, and the ability to mark things as being 
important or as stress emphasis is lost. Personally I don't want that, I'd 
rather have IE emit the wrong thing for a while longer and the others do it 

That people misuse <em> and <strong> doesn't mean that we have to give up 
and define them differently; if it were then we would probably also have to 
define <table> and even HTML as a whole to be a visual layout tool.

However as it is now the spec sort of contradicts itself -- it says <strong> 
must only be used to denote importance yet the contenteditable "bold" 
feature will emit <strong>.


Simon Pieters

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