[whatwg] <comment> element

Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis bhawkeslewis at googlemail.com
Fri Sep 9 12:27:04 PDT 2011

On Thu, Sep 8, 2011 at 4:58 PM, Bjartur Thorlacius <svartman95 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Why use <a> when you have onclick and a settable document.location? :)

I think there are sound reasons to provide user agent conformance
requirements for a at href and to allow it as conforming markup that go
well beyond semantics for semantics sake, including:

1. Links are the essence of the web, so if you're going to express
*any* semantic in a web markup language, you should express links.
2. a at href is very common in the web corpus, therefore user agents must
implement a at href to provide access to the existing web corpus.
3. Making a at href non-conforming would _not_ help authors make their
pages more interoperable.
4. We do not want to make navigating the web dependent on executing
third-party script, since some user agents do not implement scripting
and some users may disable script for usability or security reasons.
5. a at href is a significantly easier to author than any form of scripted link.
6. a at href has built-in accessibility (e.g. keyboard activation, lists
of links in screenreaders, etc.).
7. Semantic markup is deterministic in a way that arbitrary script is
not. Being able to infer relationships between documents without
executing script makes it much easier for automated agents to make use
of those relationships. For example, Google PageRank delivers
extremely good search results by analysing links expressed through
this simple semantic markup.

Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis

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