[whatwg] Some discrepencies and example remarks

Yuvalik Webdesign postmaster at yuvalik.org
Fri Oct 9 10:12:56 PDT 2009

First off, I apologise if this message appears twice in the list. After registration, something went wrong on my end and it seems my message was not picked up by the list. If it does appear twice, again my apologies. Disregard the other one.

In regard to my remarks, I would also like to point out that I am looking at the spec from a web designers point of view (not a developer or a programmer)

I followed the progress of the spec and the discussions on this list for some time now, and I feel it is time for me to vent some of my findings and ideas.
I will limit myself to section 4 (The elements of HTML) http://dev.w3.org/html5/spec/Overview.html#semantics.

I Find a lot of the descriptive texts, notes and examples to be either incomplete, confusing, ambiguous and sometimes even contradictory (again, from a designers point of view).
Esp. In regard to the Sectioning Elements. Some examples of this are:

In the NAV element it says:
"In particular, it is common for footers to have a list of links to various key parts of a site, but the footer element is more appropriate in such cases, and no nav element is necessary for those links."

But then in the example of the ASIDE we find:
   <a href="/archives">Archives</a> —
   <a href="/about">About me</a> —
   <a href="/copyright">Copyright</a>

It also says for ASIDE that:
"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. Such sections are often represented as sidebars in printed typography.
The element can be used for typographical effects like pull quotes or sidebars..."

Isn't a pull-quote to be placed in a blockquote? (which is a sectioning root if I am not mistaken?) Also, a side-bar, what is that, since side-bars are usually separately layed-out and not always directly "around the content". Also, it says at the SECTION element:
"When an element is needed for styling purposes or as a convenience for scripting, authors are encouraged to use the div element instead."

Does this only apply to SECTION, or also to ASIDE?

When talking about outline (in the context of sectioning) I gather we are NOT talking about the DOM-tree, but about (a Table Of) Contents kind of outline. Does a generic page-header and footer (containing a site-wide logo, style and navigation) belong in such an outline? If not, does this mean it has to be enclosed in a separate SECTION element? Nothing about this is made clear either in wording or examples.

The spec is not very clear anywhere about styling practices (I know this is CSS' job, but within HTML the mark-up should at least be mentioned).

I also find a lot of Notes that are phrased in such a way that they keep the interpretation open for discussion.
Things like "when it would make sense" or "other content that is considered separate from the main content" or "content that is tangentially related" etc. etc.
In the real world these kinds of guidelines are open for discussion on a per-situation basis. And may lead to mis-use of the elements.

The TIME element, I know, I know. I followed that discussion and a lot has been said about it. My main concern now is that the spec is still not clear on how and where it can be used correctly.
For example, marking up times and dates for historical documents... in the discussion on this list it has been explicitly implied that this element is NOT to be used for that, but in the spec I can still interpret the wording to mean that I may.

All in all I would like to recommend, and I hope you will seriously consider, rewriting all the examples. Currently the examples are not representative of real-world cases. I suggest you find a collection of existing websites of all types (blog, webshop, social-site, educational, company-profile, application etc. etc.) and base your examples on that. Trying to show good and clear use cases and differences.


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