[whatwg] article: do we really need this?

Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis bhawkeslewis at googlemail.com
Tue Mar 6 00:22:42 PST 2007

Sander Tekelenburg wrote:

> FWIW, the WRI lists auto-adding of IDs to 'sections' as something we'd like
> authoring systems to do:
> <http://webrepair.org/02strategy/02certification/01requirements.php#req20>.We
> currently specifically name heading levels, but that should probably be
> extended to other elements.

Well, that makes some sense for block elements, but less for inline
elements. (If we go down that route, it might be better to have every
single word in an element of its own, or to think up a way of addressing
by word in a resilient manner.)

The online version of Joe Clark's Building Accessible Websites has an id
for every <p>. Which is cool. He allows some degree of change by using
identifiers like #10, #20, #30, but it would be good to think of a how
to systematize resilient identifiers so that content can be added and
deleted without a) running out of identifiers or b) fragments being

> Btw, browser authors could contribute to adoption of such a practice by
> making it easy for users to find such IDs. One implementation might be to,
> through the contextual menu, place a link with fragment identifier to that
> specific section on the clipboard. 

FWIW, HyperTextuality extension does this (Copy Fragment Location; Copy
Closest Fragment Location; Bookmark Fragment Location; Bookmark Closest
Fragment Location). Its parsing model is currently very hacky and needs
improvement to deal with the chaos out there (and I haven't decided how
best to deal with tables yet). I'd like to create more user-friendly
alternatives which select either a permalink or a fragment identifier
depending on context.

> I currently make IDs visible through a
> user Style Sheet, but you then still need to put the page's URL and fragment
> identifier together manually -- a direct means built into the browser would
> be more comfortable, especially for all who don't write their own User CSS.

I'm of two minds about whether ids should be exposed directly. Some
might be pretty long and non-human-readable. OTOH there useful if you're
looking for a printed reference. Maybe UAs should be able to switch into
an id-displaying mode.

Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis

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