[whatwg] [br] element should not be a line break

Aryeh Gregor Simetrical+w3c at gmail.com
Fri Aug 6 13:19:13 PDT 2010

On Thu, Aug 5, 2010 at 5:24 AM, Thomas Koetter
<thomas.koetter at id-script.de> wrote:
> That's not correct.

Then give a counterexample.

> Actually, I shouldn't have used the term "definition list" as such a list type does not exist in HTML5. The meaning of the dl element has been changed to that of an association list (name/value pairs). So, it can and should be used for addresses. I maintain that it is the most semantically rich HTML5 element for addresses.

It cannot be used if you don't want to include the words like
"Street:", which are typically omitted, unless you add the <dt>s with
display: none, which is unreasonable.

> According to the spec it is perfectly acceptable to leave out all dt elements:
> "If a dl element contains only dd elements, then it consists of one group with values but no names."

That says what the meaning is of a dl element with no dt elements.  It
doesn't say such a group is permitted.  The normative authoring
requirements are in the first two sentences of the element's

"The dl element represents an association list consisting of zero or
more name-value groups (a description list). Each group must consist
of one or more names (dt elements) followed by one or more values (dd

Every group must have a <dt> element.

> Which elements currently let me logically break up a paragraph? I can't think of any. There are only a handful of empty elements (like br, wbr, hr, img, input, param, embed). Except br none of them would be appropriate in such a case.

No elements do.  Characters do, though.  Every period, comma,
semicolon, colon, and dash is a minor logical break in the paragraph,
but it would be incorrect to use <br> for any of those.

> I would disagree here because I don't consider punctuation to be presentational. I'd say it's content because leaving punctuation out can change the meaning.

So can omitting line breaks.  The address

123 Imaginary Place
New York, NY 12345

is not the same as

123 Imaginary Place New
York, NY 12345

Indeed, the spec explicitly forbids using <br> where the line break is
presentational: "br elements must be used only for line breaks that
are actually part of the content, as in poems or addresses."

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