[whatwg] Some discrepencies and example remarks

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Mon Oct 12 04:31:37 PDT 2009

On Fri, 9 Oct 2009, Yuvalik Webdesign wrote:
> A) 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:
> <footer>
>   <nav>
>    <a href="/archives">Archives</a> —
>    <a href="/about">About me</a> —
>    <a href="/copyright">Copyright</a>
>   </nav>
>  </footer>

The <nav> isn't necessary, but it is allowed. I've tried to clarify the 
text you quote above.

> 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?)

Sure, you can put the text in a <blockquote> or <q> in the aside. One of 
the examples does this, in fact (search for "People ask me what I do").

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

Not sure what you are asking here.

> 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?

It applies to everything, actually, but it's listed explicitly in the 
<section> section because that has been the element we have seen most 
often abused for generic purposes. (Some people seem to just use <section> 
like they used <div>.)

> 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.

I don't understand why this is a question. Why would it not belong in the 

> 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).

Could you elaborate on what you had in mind? Note that default styles are 
listed in detail in their own section.

> 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.

If you have any specific cases you think should be tightened up, please 
feel free to bring them up. It's hard to know exactly which ones you 
think are too vague.

> 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.

It's fine to use it for historic documents for recent history. The spec 
mentions that using it for times before Gregorian dates is tricky. It's 
impossible to give dates before about 1AD Julian (before exactly 1AD 
Gregorian). I don't really know what else we could say.

> 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.

Please file specific bugs or send specific e-mails for each example you 
think should be reworked; there are over 300 examples in the spec and 
without knowing what is wrong with each one, if I just go through them all 
and change them, they're just going to go from one kind of bad example to 
another kind of bad example.

On Sat, 10 Oct 2009, Yuvalik Webdesign wrote:
> So you are saying that <aside> can be generally used as the smaller 
> columns on pages regardless of their contents, as long as it is somehow 
> related to the page (which obviously it is always)?

More or less.

> I think you misunderstand my point/question. A "page-header" (or 
> "page-footer") can consist of more than just semantic content and 
> navigation. It can consist of a logo, styling, non-related information 
> (sometimes above this header we have search boxes and login panels, etc. 
> etc). Do these become part of the <header> or is the <header> to become 
> part of a <div> in such cases? Also, if below a header with content we 
> have a styled image (purely for visual means) does this become part of 
> the header or not? Where is the line drawn? See also below.

I don't understand the question.

> Perhaps a small example, currently I am working on a site where content 
> which is generally regarded as a header, is placed as a sidebar on the 
> lower right of the page. It only contains a logo and a slideshow. Is 
> this a <header> or is this a <div>?

Can you provide the URI? I would be happy to take a look, and maybe base 
an example in the spec on this.

On Sat, 10 Oct 2009, Yuvalik Webdesign wrote:
> I am still having problems accepting the differences between <section> 
> and <article> though. I understand when to use one over the other, but 
> what was the background for choosing two elements instead of one? What 
> is the drawback of defining just one in the spec (either <section> or 
> <article>) and giving that one all the use cases and abilities of the 
> two? I don't see how that would affect anything (not even AT).

Sites often style article-level <div>s ("class=post") differently than 
section-level <div>s. It's also useful in doing syndication-like tools 
that split pages up for, e.g., use in feed readers.

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

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