[whatwg] Feeedback on <dfn>, <abbr>, and other elements related to cross-references

Smylers Smylers at stripey.com
Mon Apr 21 13:56:03 PDT 2008

Jim Jewett writes:

> It isn't clear why the validity constraints of abbr need to be
> tightened.

HTML 5 didn't start as HTML 4, so it isn't so much a case of
"tightening" HTML 4 as having to provide a reason to include things into
HTML 5 -- including those defined in HTML 4.

> The use cases are sufficiently obscure that the cost is low, but what
> is the benefit of this tightening?

What are the use-cases, and what do current browsers do with them?  If
browsers are already doing something useful then it probably makes sense
to keep that behaviour.

But if these are theoretical things which future browsers could do then
a more substantial case has to be made for what would effectively be
creating a new feature.

> Smylers wrote:
> > Sure, all instances of just using abbreviations _could_ be marked
> > up.  Equally we could mark up verbs, proper nouns,  ...
> Nicholas Shanks pointed out that the change made this false.  You can
> still mark up verbs, proper nouns, etc,

How?  We don't have elements for those.

You could use class attributes, but browsers wouldn't do anything with
that information by default.  And if you used class for that, you could
just as easily ...

> but marking up abbr *without* a title is no longer valid.

... use class to mark up instances of abbreviations.


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