[whatwg] A plea to Hixie to adopt <main>

Simon Pieters simonp at opera.com
Wed Nov 7 06:23:27 PST 2012


My impression from TPAC is that implementors are on board with the idea of  
adding <main> to HTML, and we're left with Hixie objecting to it.

Hixie's argument is, I think, that the use case that <main> is intended to  
address is already possible by applying the Scooby-Doo algorithm, as James  
put it -- remove all elements that are not main content, <header>,  
<aside>, etc., and you're left with the main content.

I think the Scooby-Doo algorithm is a heuristic that is not reliable  
enough in practice, since authors are likely to put stuff outside the main  
content that do not get filtered out by the algorithm, and vice versa.

Implementations that want to support a "go to main content" or "highlight  
the main content", like Safari's Reader Mode, or whatever it's called,  
need to have various heuristics for detecting the main content, and is  
expected to work even for pages that don't use any of the new elements.  
However, I think using <main> as a way to opt out of the heuristic works  
better than using <aside> to opt out of the heuristic. For instance, it  
seems reasonable to use <aside> for a pull-quote as part of the main  
content, and you don't want that to be excluded, but the Scooby-Doo  
algorithm does that.

If there is anyone besides from Hixie who objects to adding <main>, it  
would be useful to hear it.

Simon Pieters
Opera Software

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