[whatwg] Double meaning of the <u> element

Shaun Moss shaun at astromultimedia.com
Tue May 1 18:31:43 PDT 2012

I know it's contentious, but as a teacher it's very simple to teach 
students of HTML5 that:
<u> = underline
<b> = bold
<i> = italic
<s> = strikethrough

Of course, I also teach <strong> and <em>, but the simplest way to teach 
<b> and <i> is that it's merely an easy way to create bold or italic 
text when the meaning of <strong> or <em> doesn't apply. They represent 
a convenience that spares the author the work of using span tags and 
creating a CSS class with font-weight or font-style properties. <u> is 
the same, just an easy way to create underlined text. It doesn't really 
need semantics piled on top of it - that just makes it harder to teach 
and learn. But using Chinese names or misspelled text as /examples/ of 
when to use <u> is another matter.

I grok the desire to have all tags defined semantically, but if the 
semantic definitions add unnecessary complexity, then it just seems like 
a kludge. Anyone can understand <b> = bold.


On 2012-04-30 3:46 PM, Andrés Sanhueza wrote:
> The<u>  element was made conforming due to widespread usage and for
> some cases were other elements weren't suitable. However, I feel that
> the current definition is not very clear, as it gives two somewhat
> unrelated used for it: misspelled text and proper names on Chinese. I
> believe that is fine if is one or the other, but by the current
> definition seems that the purpose of retaining the element is merely
> were to underline needs to be used to represent something regardless
> what it is, which seems inconsistent with other similar tags that are
> better defined to have more finite purposes that aren't based on the
> fallback presentational look, even if relevant at the time of defining
> those. By the definitions seems that proper names and book names are
> suitable to be indicated by<b>  and<cite>  respectively; or some new
> element altogether. I'm aware that the fallback look is an issue, yet
> I believe it should be resolved in a more consistent way.

Shaun Moss
+61 405478912
skype: mossy2100
groups.drupal.org: mossy2100

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