[whatwg] Some discrepencies and example remarks

Tab Atkins Jr. jackalmage at gmail.com
Fri Oct 9 14:31:28 PDT 2009

On Fri, Oct 9, 2009 at 12:12 PM, Yuvalik Webdesign
<postmaster at yuvalik.org> wrote:
> B)
> 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?)

No, actual quotes as part of the content go in <blockquote>.
Pull-quotes are those things you see sometimes in magazine articles
where a particular quote that's already in the article is duplicated
and specially laid out for effect.

> Also, a side-bar, what is that, since side-bars are usually separately layed-out and not always directly "around the content".

You're interpreting "around" too strictly here.  It means just
"nearby" here.  It means exactly what it says - <aside> can be used
for marking up the sort of thing that you typically see in a sidebar
in magazines.  It is also useful for marking up the traditional
"sidebar content" of webpages, where there's a fairly narrow column to
the left or right of the main content containing tangential
information like blogrolls.

> 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?

In general, if something exists for the sole purpose of scripting or
styling convenience, it should be <div> or <span>.  The reason only
<section> mentions this specifically is because it has the thinnest
semantics - it just represents a segment of content, but indicates
that this segment is significant in the page outline.  The other
elements like <aside> have sufficiently specific semantics that it's
less of a concern that they'll be misused for general
styling/scripting hooks.

> C)
> 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 headings that may be contained in <header> belong in the outline,
and those are indicated simply by marking them up with <h1>, <h2>,
etc.  Don't overthink it.  ^_^

> 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).

What do you mean here?  The Rendering section describes a default
stylesheet that is recommended for normal visual UAs to employ.

> D)
> 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.

That's really about as specific as you can get, though, or else you
risk lots of real-world stuff not fitting *any* definition.  The
misuse due to misinterpretation of these elements should hopefully be
minimal - if you have specific concerns/confusions about how
particular content should be marked up using the new elements, please

> E)
> 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.

If you can mark them up under the limitations on the content of
@datetime, more power to you.  The point of that section is to make
clear that marking up historical dates was *not* the primary use-case,
or even an auxiliary use-case, so you shouldn't be surprised if it
doesn't work out well (like if you end up with a date before 1AD that
can't be marked up with <time>, while all your other dates are fine).

> D)
> 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.

Can you give any examples?  I've been able to use the elements pretty
usefully on my own pages based on spec text, especially since the last
round of changes/clarifications.


More information about the whatwg mailing list