[whatwg] Section 3 semantics and structure

Shelley Powers shelleyp at burningbird.net
Sat May 2 07:39:45 PDT 2009

More general comments on the HTML5 draft:

In section three, you mix structure and semantics, but the two are not 
necessarily compatible.

For instance, we see an introduction to the Document, and then 
immediately proceed into a description of Documents in the DOM. Frankly, 
I don't see how a description of the DOM fits either structure or 
semantics. To me, structure would be the structure of the markup in the 
document, and the semantics would be the, well, it's hard to say what it 
would be, you apply semantics to elements, such as section and header. 
Whatever it is, it's not DOM related.

Then you follow up with Security. What does this have to do with 
structure or semantics?

Perhaps if the intro section was filled in, we would have an 
understanding of what you mean by structure, and semantics. Right now, 
though, I see what is basically a bucket of information, somehow grouped 
under this heading, perhaps because it doesn't fit anywhere else.

Now you do a nice description of what you consider as semantics in 
section 3.3.1, and I would expect this, then, to be followed by a 
listing of the elements, but again, there's the DOM. There's no cohesive 
pattern to the document, especially when the different document levels 
are mixed so haphazardly.

I think of a document as a communication between writer and audience. 
Now there are probably three audiences for HTML5:  user agent 
developers, such as browser companies; web developers, interested in  
the DOM, scripting events, and so on; and designers or others, more 
likely interested in the markup.

I, as a web developer/designer, am not really interested in the user 
agent aspects of the specs. Another person who is a designer, may not be 
interested in the developer or UA aspects. But all of us are forced to 
go through material addressed to all three audiences just to find the 
information we need.

I, a designer interested in learning about the new semantic elements, 
have to wade through sections on the DOM and security, including 
cookies, because I'm not sure when I'll be getting to the bits I need. 
There's no clear demarcation between audiences in the document.

More later


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