[whatwg] The div element

Nicholas C. Zakas html at nczonline.net
Fri Feb 29 20:57:36 PST 2008

>From this description, it seems like the <section/> element has little use. If you're talking about writing articles, most authors consider the start and end of sections as implicitly defined by headings. Making this explicit seems unnecessary so long as headings are still available and used. It's just extra syntax to represent something that is more easily represented without it.


----- Original Message ----
From: Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage at gmail.com>
To: whatwg List <whatwg at whatwg.org>
Sent: Friday, February 29, 2008 10:24:49 AM
Subject: Re: [whatwg] The div element

On Fri, Feb 29, 2008 at 11:39 AM, Nicholas Zakas <nicholas.zakas at yahoo.com> wrote:
I don't think it's as clear as you make it out to be. A "section" and a "division". I hate to consult a dictionary on this, but one definition for "section" is "subdivision". The naming alone does not make it clear what the difference is. The <nav/>, <header/>, and <footer/> elements are pretty clear as to their usage. 

Some additional language might be good for clarifying.  Optionally, got any better suggestions for the element's name?

Anne mentioned that <section/> interacts with <h1/>-<h6/>...how so?

In HTML5, the <hx> hierarchy is explicitly ignored.  Instead, they're all treated the same.  The actual heading level is determined by <section> nesting.

If <section/> is something people believe in, then there really has to be more definition around it and its difference with <div/>. I know part of HTML 5 is to mitigate the div-itis problem, but without clearer distinctions you'll just end up with a mishmash of <section/> and <div/> being used interchangeably.

Okay, let's make sure it's clear.  <section> has a pretty anemic description in the spec currently.

To the best of my knowledge, the basic use case of <section> is dividing up related content within an <article>.  This is pretty easy to use correctly.

Question to others:  I think it is somewhat unclear what exactly the correct semantics are for <section> when it is encountered outside of an <article>.  Since <section> is the most generic of the sectioning tags, there is a definite risk of it falling into the same hole that <div> is in.  Where exactly should <section> be used when outside of an article, and when should we just default to the <div>?


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