[whatwg] article: do we really need this?

Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis bhawkeslewis at googlemail.com
Mon Mar 5 23:09:50 PST 2007

The HyperTextuality Firefox extension I've been writing attempts to work
out the most relevant URI for a given piece of content, for bookmarking
or quoting. Front pages of blogs, the most important use-case, also pose
a particular problem as many blogs don't have an obvious structure (to
an automated agent) to distinguish individual articles with a permanent
link from the main body of the text (annoyingly, this seems especially
true of extremely popular blogs using Moveable Type). <article> sounds
like it would bring somewhat more consistency to that situation.

There is a problem in that <article> might still have no way of
referencing it, but the fact that is a discrete piece of content
suggests it should. Could include a conformance requirement for
<article> to have a fragment identifier (e.g. for comments) and/or a
permalink (e.g. for blog posts)? e.g.:

<article> ... <a
rel="permalink">http://www.example.com/articles/2458</a> .... </article>


<article id="article-2458-comment-358686"> ... </article>

I'm not sure about the use of <address> for author information: what
happens with anonymous comments, for instance? It might be nice if the
spec could define authorship as inherited from parent elements if author
is not specified, but we'd need to specify how to mark up an <article>
as anonymous first. <address>Anonymous</address> isn't a simple
solution, since given multiple languages, synonyms, and
euphemisms/jokes, that would be automated agent's nightmare.

But in any case this points both to another use-case for <article> and
one simple route towards validating it.

Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis

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