[whatwg] several messages about <cite>

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Tue Apr 15 18:58:31 PDT 2008

On Wed, 16 Apr 2008, Shannon wrote:
> Ian Hickson wrote:
> > 
> > We're not talking about making class meaningful. I'm not sure I 
> > understand what you are arguing against at this point.
> > 
> > The proposal is just that authors should use class="" to distinguish 
> > the various ways they use <i> so that they can (e.g.) style them 
> > differently. Where is the spec unclear? I should rewrite it to avoid 
> > any ambiguities.
> The spec is fine.

Ah, ok. Well then good!

> > > It's subclassing: the general is sufficient, the specific better. 
> > > Many markup languages use the design, and in this case, I think it's 
> > > necessary.
> >
> > The class="" attribute can handle this case.
> We appear to be talking about "lookups", "script", "semantics" and 
> "markup" here rather than "style"; presumably to create custom link 
> behaviours and assist in automated document processing. Perhaps there is 
> an assumption that processing will only occur within the scope of the 
> current page or site (and presumably therefore under the control of a 
> single entity).

Right. I don't think anyone is suggesting that we need to classify <cite> 
elements in a globally unique and unambiguous way -- what would be the use 
case for that?

> However if <cite> were to have a type then it's likely that the first 
> systems to take advantage of it would be search-engines and catalogues.

As someone who works for a search engine company, I highly doubt that. :-)

> Using a type/rel/category attribute instead of class will assist in 
> automated document processing and categorisation. It doesn't really 
> matter whether a list of allowed types is defined or not since a 
> search/directory crawler would probably deal with the uncommon or 
> unsupported exceptions. But lumping the type of citation in with the 
> class names used to style it is simply asking for trouble since it will 
> also trigger any defined styles (probably unintentionally) and/or create 
> nonsense categories like "book_class" in the processors' DB. I could 
> imagine such a situation leading to the following catalogue output:
> This article contains:
>     - 4 book citations
>     - 2 book_class citations
>     - 1 squiggly_underline citations
> Hope that makes my position on this clearer. If I misunderstood 
> somebodies comments then I apologise.

I agree that class="" won't work for this as a globally unique solution 
(short of a Microformat being developed for it). However, I don't think we 
need to find a globally unique solution, as the use cases for such a 
solution aren't especially compelling.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

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