[whatwg] Thoughts on HTML 5

Dave Hodder dmh at dmh.org.uk
Thu Feb 28 12:16:19 PST 2008

html at nczonline.net wrote (with snippage):
>     *   I understand the concept of the <dialog/> element but it's named completely wrong. The point is to markup a conversation between two or more parties. The problem is that the word "dialog", when in used in user interfaces, refers to small windows that can be interacted with. When I first read about this element, I assumed it was a way to indicate that part of the page is a dialog window outside of the normal flow of the document (which I thought was cool). After reading the rest, I was disappointed to find out that wasn't the intent. I'd rename this element as <conversation/> or <discussion/> to avoid such misunderstandings.

I was confused by the name of the "dialog" element in exactly the same 
way you were, originally thinking it was to do with pop-up dialogue 
boxes.  The HTML 4 spec states:

     Another application of DL, for example, is for marking up
     dialogues, with each DT naming a speaker, and each DD containing
     his or her words.

... which I presume influenced the addition of this element.  If there 
is a lot of dialogue marked up on the Web it deserves its own element, 
if not I guess DL could be considered to stand for "dialogue list" in 
addition to "definition list".

>     *   I'd like to see a common attribute that can be used on any element to indicate information related to the element. I'm tired of fighting the custom attribute battle. The fact is that it's a very common need to include extra data related to an element. I'd propose a "reldata" attribute (short for "related data") be considered as an optional attribute on all elements. We then, as developers, could use that attribute as we see fit and the document would still validate (for people who care about such things).

I'm not entirely sure I understand, but if you want to further define 
the semantics of an element or make it more "specialised", another group 
  has put forward the idea of a "role" attribute 



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