[whatwg] Can <var> possibly work?
Ozob the Great
ozob1337 at gmail.com
Sun Sep 21 13:01:59 PDT 2008
On Sun, Sep 21, 2008 at 3:07 PM, Andrew Sidwell <andi at takkaria.org> wrote:
> 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.
I think the usage you're considering is the "placeholder in prose"
situation. As an example of this, the spec currently gives: "<p>If there are
<var>n</var> pipes leading to the ice cream factory, then I expect at
<em>least</em> <var>n</var> flavours of ice cream to be available for
purchase!</p>" Is this what you're thinking of, or did you have some other
use in mind?
As far as "deprecated", the OED tells me that it means, "To plead earnestly
against; to express an earnest wish against (a proceeding); to express
earnest disapproval of (a course, plan, purpose, etc.)." So saying that
<var> is deprecated in a mathematical context means that its use for
mathematics is discouraged. (The OED also tells me that historically,
"deprecate" meant "to pray against evil", but that's not the meaning I
> 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.".
I think you're asking to have 4.6.14 say:
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. If you wish to mark up complex mathematical content, then MathML is
more suitable than the var element.
Is that right?
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