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

Thomas Koetter thomas.koetter at id-script.de
Mon Aug 9 02:34:03 PDT 2010

Aryeh wrote:
>It's kind of a fake, though, since the definition includes "spans of
>text whose typical typographic presentation is boldened" and "other
>prose whose typical typographic presentation is italicized". With
>those semantics, there's no sensible way to render them in any medium
>except bold and italics.  In speech, you could never present them
>properly based on those semantics -- you'd probably just have to
>ignore them.  For example, even if you wanted to audibly offset
>italicized thoughts (which you probably don't), you can't distinguish
>thoughts from ship names.

According to the spec the "i element represents a span of text in an alternate voice or mood". It's very easy to do that in speech but very hard in writing. That's why we have emoticons and <irony> tags. The new semantics are pretty solid for i.

Admittedly, it's harder to make the case for the b element. b is closely tied to presentation. Its purpose is to "stylistically offset" something. Just like the mark element is used to highlight something in a different context, b is used to highlight something in the original context. In both cases leaving the highlighting out wouldn't change the meaning. b is an accessibility feature which makes it easier to identify key parts regardless of medium.

I'd agree that b has the weakest semantics of all the semantic elements in the spec. Using spans with classes would work just as well.

Aryeh wrote:
>The presentation-independence is hollow:
>the semantics are such that it is correct to use <b>/<i> for exactly
>those things that are conventionally bolded or italicized.

You're implying that these things are conventionally bolded or italicized as an end in itself. Most of the time there's a reason why things are bolded or italicized other than "I don't like regular type". The restricted set of means for conveying semantics in type-setting doesn't mean we can't use a richer set of elements in HTML. Even if at the end of the day all that richness is presented in bold and italics. Google doesn't care ;-)

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