[whatwg] request for clarification: aside, figure

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Mon Jun 8 17:57:15 PDT 2009

On Sun, 10 May 2009, Bruce Lawson wrote:
> I don't think the spec is clear enough defining these two elements from 
> an author's perspective.
> "The aside element represents a section of a page that consists of 
> content that is tangentially related to the content around the aside 
> element, and which could be considered separate from that content."
> "The figure element represents some flow content, optionally with a 
> caption, which can be moved away from the main flow of the document 
> without affecting the document's meaning.
> What is the difference between a <figure> that has no caption and an 
> <aside>? Both seem to be connected in some way with the main content 
> around it, but can be considered separate/ may be moved.
> Common-sense suggests that a figure is usually an illustration/ diagram/ 
> picture, but doesn't have to be (the spec gives an example of the poem 
> Jabberwocky marked up as a figure).
> So If I have a magazine-style pullquote, is that a figure or an aside 
> (or neither)?

I have attempted to address this, but actually it turns out HTML5 already 
has examples of how to do pull quotes in the <aside> section.

> For example, in the middle of a fictional interview about markup, I 
> might want to pull out a quote and citation: Do I write
> <aside>
> <blockquote>After a sip of sweet sherry, I turn into Mr Last
> Week</blockquote>
> <cite>Ian Hickson</cite>
> </aside>
> Or
> <figure>
> <blockquote>After a sip of sweet sherry, I turn into Mr Last
> Week</blockquote>
> <legend>Ian Hickson</legend>
> </figure>

The former shows correct usage of <aside> vs <figure>, though the <cite> 
element usage is incorrect; the name should not be marked up.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

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