[whatwg] Joined blocks

Shannon shannon at arc.net.au
Fri Aug 1 23:39:40 PDT 2008

Tab Atkins Jr. wrote:
> This is definitely and distinctly a CSS issue, not a HTML one.  The 
> fact that the contents of an element flow into another box elsewhere 
> in the page has nothing to do with the underlying structure of the 
> data - it's still a single cohesive element, and thus in html it would 
> be marked up exactly as normal.  You just happen to be displaying it 
> differently.

The accuracy of your statement depends largely on whether the 
specification allows the content source to be defined across all joined 
blocks or only in the first. For example:

<div id="col1"><p>first para</p><p>second para</p></div>
... other unrelated markup ...
<div join="col1"><p>third para</p></div>

This markup would be common when the author is trying to support legacy 
or non-CSS browsers. The join attribute allows supporting agents to know 
that conceptually the third para follows on from the second. This might 
be useful for text or audio browsers to correctly concatenate related 
sections of text and for search engines trying to demarcate meaningful 
areas of the page. I strongly recommend that HTML5 define the join 
attribute and then allow the CSS group to define its behaviour in 
relation to visual styles. The 'class' attribute sets a precedent for 
this as it is defined in HTML despite generally having no implications 
beyond being a style hook. CSS cannot currently target elements except 
by their structural alignment to others and in many cases the blocks to 
be joined won't have a simple relationship. Targetting the id of joined 
elements with the 'join' attribute is still required regardless of how 
the CSS rules are implemented and this is the correct forum for new HTML 

> I've got some ideas in this regard, but we should move it to the CSS 
> list, www-style at w3.org <mailto:www-style at w3.org>.

Already done. The topic is currently waiting on moderation.

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