[whatwg] article/section/details naming/definition problems

Judson Collier judson at judsoncollier.com
Tue Sep 15 19:49:18 PDT 2009

I like the idea of section type="", but that'll make me feel like I need to
define every section that I write out. Maybe that's just me.

I understand the ambiguity (and the confusion) of <article>, and <section>.
I (respectfully) disagree that there's not a wide enough distance between
section and an article.

Here's how I see it: Sections are blocks of content that may or may not
contain an <article>. I think sectioning out and marking up a single article
(beyond headers) might really be *too much*. If people want to markup a
section for style, then they can use a div, just like we use <span> to
markup text that doesn't necessarily require it's own tag. <div> is the
<span> for sections, am I wrong?

I've said it before, but you can make this stuff as detailed as you want it,
but really it's how it's actually going to be used and interpreted that's


As far as Asides, I learned some of the basic foundations of HTML5 (coming
from someone who just dived into this in the last few months) from this,
from A List Apart: http://www.alistapart.com/articles/previewofhtml5/ that
plainly states that an <aside> is now used as sidebar. HTML5Doctor says this
is incorrect: http://html5doctor.com/understanding-aside/. I don't rely on
other websites to get my information on HTML5, but as someone who can't
grasp a lot of parts of the spec, *its much easier for people to grasp the
spec when it's broken down for them by someone they can trust.*
For the record, both of those articles show up when you search "How to use
HTML5 aside".

The answer might not be to change the spec (in some cases), but to provide a
resource approved by the spec that can explain these in real terms that
might be easier to understand.

On Tue, Sep 15, 2009 at 9:15 PM, Jonas Sicking <jonas at sicking.cc> wrote:
On Tue, Sep 15, 2009 at 6:08 PM, Ian Hickson <ian at hixie.ch> wrote:
> On Tue, 15 Sep 2009, Jeremy Keith wrote:
>> Henri wrote:
>> > http://adactio.com/journal/1607/
>> Ah, you beat me to it. I was just about to write an email to the list,
>> honestly. ;-)
>> So anyway, the upshot of my somewhat unscientific survey[1] conducted at
>> workshop a couple of weeks ago is that there is great confusion between
>> <section> and <article> elements.
> I've tweaked their definitions (as well as a few others) to take this data
> into account.
> Thanks for this research, by the way, it's very useful.
>> In that blog post, I point out that <section> and <article> were once
>> divergent but have converged over time (since the @cite and @pubdate
>> attributes were dropped from <article>).
>> I've also seen a lot of confusion from authors wondering when to use
>> and when to use <article>. Bruce wrote an article on HTML5 doctor
recently to
>> address this:
>> http://html5doctor.com/the-section-element/
>> Probably the best tutorial I've seen on this issue is from Ted:
>> http://edward.oconnor.cx/2009/09/using-the-html5-sectioning-elements
>> ...but even so, the confusion remains. The very fact that tutorials are
>> required for what should be intuitive structural elements is worrying — I
>> don't see the same issues around <nav>, <header> or <footer> (now that
>> content model has been changed) ...although there is continuing confusion
>> around <aside>.
> I'd like to rename <article>, if someone can come up with a better word
> that means "blog post, blog comment, forum post, or widget". I do think
> there is an important difference between a subpart of a page that is
> a potential candidate for syndication, and a subsection of a page that
> only makes sense with the rest of the page.

How about <section type=article> or <section article="">?

Or can we leave it to a predefined microformat (as much as I'm not a
fan of those)

/ Jonas

Judson Collier
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