[whatwg] several messages about <cite>

Shannon shannon at arc.net.au
Mon Apr 14 22:37:02 PDT 2008

> All of them. "class" isn't intended for styling, it's intended to subclass 
> elements. 
Regardless of the intention of the class element it is NOT used in the 
real world to subclass anything but styles and custom script. We may 
wish otherwise but that is irrelevant. The value of class to me is:

* To get style information out of the content stream.
* To allow the re-use and grouping of style information.
* To provide alternate styles for printing, or user choice.
* To identify related elements to javascript code.

If class attribute was supposed to represent logical relationships or 
groupings in the information/content then it has already failed.

> The subclassing can then be used for style, but using 
> presentational classes (that is, classes that describe the desired 
> presentation instead of the reason for that desire, the subclass of the 
> element) misses the point.
> For example, saying class="blue" with an associated .class { color: blue } 
> will quickly become confusing if you decide those things should be red. It 
> is in fact no better to use CSS that way than to use <font color=blue>.
Agreed, I would personally never use class="blue". It was intended for 
the example only so the distinction I was making between "types" and 
"styles" was obvious. Designers are not used to thinking about these 
things. They'll use whatever Dreamweaver offers them regardless of the 
purpose for the information they are styling. Regardless of the 
enlightened opinion here designers will continue to do "what works" 
rather than what "makes sense". You won't change that with a spec (that 
most won't ever read). I've done a 2-year formal course in 
computer-aided design and these things were just not taught.

> All the people involved in the developement of a site and its style sheets 
> should of course agree on a set of class names.
In a perfect world, yes. In reality the people involved may not even 
work for the same company. I can see a situation arising where the 
"meaning" of classes are being assigned by a company like Google for use 
with their crawler but those classes are already be in use for 
presentation purposes. How will the crawler know which uses are 
intentional and which are not. How will the designer know which classes 
are "reserved", when the system that will use them may not even exist yet.
> I strongly disagree with the characterisations of the class attribute 
> in this example

As do I but that isn't relevant to the problem. If you feel that class 
should have a purpose other than it's widely used ones (styles and JS) 
then HTML5 must provide an alternative for these uses. I for one do not 
intend to use inline styles at all as I prefer keeping the design 
decisions outside of the HTML. That means you'll need to give me a list 
of all "meaningful" classes that might be used with <cite> and other 
elements - but of course nobody can.

On the other hand except for rel="stylesheet" the rel attribute does not 
have these encumbrances and so deserves consideration.


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