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

Ben Schwarz ben.schwarz at gmail.com
Wed Nov 7 14:04:49 PST 2012

"Skip to main" isn't the only use case :-)

FYI, as a web designer, (slap me here) I've almost never designed in a "skip to main" link. 
Call me ignorant (probably fitting), but in the "real world" a new way to markup 'skip to main' isn't on my mind. 

What does concern me, as a web builder, *every day*, is how I markup the content in-between a <header> and a <footer>. 

Consider the following: 

In this (real, cutdown) example, I was marking up a series of events on a page. Headers and footers, then … something in the middle. 

<header>h1, h2, p</header>
<div class="content"></div>
<footer>time, a.permalink</footer>

In this (also, real) situation, I separated the main content of my page from the 'chrome' of the site, headers, footers, etc. 

<body class="contact">
  <nav role="navigation">

  <div role="main" class="grid spine">
      <h1>Lets talk</h1>
      <p>Product, sales or press enquiries—</p>

    <form action="#" method="post">

  <footer role="navigation" class="grid">

The fact of the matter is that web authors are already inventing "main", daily. 

Just some examples from the files open behind my mail right now. Happy to provide more!




On 08/11/2012, at 5:13 AM, "Kang-Hao (Kenny) Lu" <kanghaol at oupeng.com> wrote:

> (12/11/08 1:48), James Graham wrote:
>> I think that finding the main content of a page has clear use cases. We
>> can see examples of authors working around the lack of this feature in
>> the platform every time they use a "skip to main" link, or (less
>> commonly) aria role=main. I believe we also see browsers supporting
>> role=main in their AT mapping, which suggests implementer interest in
>> this approach since the solutions are functionally isomorphic (but with
>> very different marketing and usability stories).
>> I think the argument that the Scooby Doo algorithm is deficient because
>> it requires many elements of a page to be correctly marked up, compared
>> to <main> which requires only a single element to get the same
>> functional effect, has merit. 
> Hixie's another argument, if I understand correctly, is to use <article>
> in place of this role. I think the Web is probably full of mis-used
> <article> already such that using the first <article> in document order
> has no chance to work out, but it would nice if this can be verified,
> even though I can already imagine that an author is unlikely to mark up
> the main content with <article> when the main content isn't an article
> in English sense.
>> The observation that having one element on a page marked — via class
>> or id —  "main" is already a clear cowpath enhances the credibility
>> of the suggested solution. On the other hand, I agree that now
>> everyone heading down the cowpath was aiming for the same place; a
>> <div class=main> wrapping the whole page, headers, footers, and
>> all is clearly not the same as one that identifies the extent of the
>> primary content.
> Right. So, assuming "skip to main" is the only use case for <main>,
> which I am not sure if Steve agrees, I think the proposal should use
> strong wording to prevent such misuse and the proposal should include
> one example of such misuse and explains it.
> Cheers,
> Kenny
> -- 
> Web Specialist, Oupeng Browser, Beijing
> Try Oupeng: http://www.oupeng.com/

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