[whatwg] New attributes would degrade better than new elements

Jukka K. Korpela jkorpela at cs.tut.fi
Fri Jan 27 12:41:44 PST 2012

2012-01-27 21:33, Ian Hickson wrote:

> On Wed, 26 Oct 2011, Jukka K. Korpela wrote:
>> New elements like<nav>  and<footer>  have the problem that some existing
>> user agents don't recognize them, even for the purposes of styling.
> This is only a transient problem for a few years, and a minor one at that
> -- you can always add CSS to make them work in CSS-capable browsers,

No, that won't work on still existing versions of IE.

> Old IEs need a special trick.

Indeed. They require JavaScript code.

>> Therefore, it would be much simpler, for compatibility with existing
>> user agents, to use just <div type=nav>  and <div type=footer>.
> I think the ugliness of that solution far outweighs any temporary
> transition issue.

<div type=nav> has been used for years, and it did not become any uglier.

"Transient" problems that will be with us for years, as you admitted, 
far outweigh any subjective esthetics of more compact markup.

> Personally, for example, I find the
> terseness of different element names to be of much help in writing more
> maintainable documents.

Then you could use authoring tools that convert <nav>, or whatever you 
prefer, to markup that all browsers understand.

> But in general, the main purpose is easier authoring.

It is not easier but more complicated, since you need to write CSS code 
_and_ JavaScript code just to make all browsers understand your <nav> 
the same way they would understand <div class=nav>.


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