[whatwg] Can <var> possibly work?

Andrew Sidwell andi at takkaria.org
Sun Sep 21 12:07:37 PDT 2008

Ozob the Great wrote:
> Sorry, mail client trouble. Here is the complete message.
> On Sun, Sep 21, 2008 at 6:29 AM, Henri Sivonen <hsivonen at iki.fi 
> <mailto:hsivonen at iki.fi>> wrote:
>     The use cases for <var> probably aren't strong enough to warrant its
>     addition to HTML at this stage if it hadn't been in HTML
>     already--you might as well use <i>. However, given that <var> has
>     already been in HTML for a long time, it probably isn't harmful
>     enough to make it non-conforming. Actually, its main harm is the
>     opportunity cost of the debates about when it's appropriate to use
>     it. :-/
> I agree making <var> non-conforming is inappropriate.
> Let me make a specific and concrete proposal. 4.6.14 should be changed 
> to read as follows:
> The var element represents a variable. This could be an actual variable 
> in a programming context, or it could be a term used as a placeholder in 
> prose. Use of var in a mathematical context is deprecated in favor of 
> MathML content markup.

What benefit does that bring to anyone, if all they want to do is to 
mark up a mathematical variable very simply in text?  Also, what does 
deprecated mean here? --it's certainly at no risk of being removed in 
the future.

If anything, it would be more helpful for the text to be "If you wish to 
mark up complex mathematical content, then MathML is more suitable than 
the var element.".

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