[whatwg] maincontent element spec updated and supporting data provided

Mathew Marquis mat at matmarquis.com
Thu Oct 18 13:27:19 PDT 2012

On Oct 18, 2012, at 2:36 PM, Ian Hickson wrote:

> I just wanted to make sure everyone is clear that this <maincontent> part 
> is not part of the HTML specification, and is not a WHATWG specification. 
> We have previously had miscommunications about this kind of thing, e.g. 
> with responsive images, where there was some expectation from some people 
> that if a proposal got written up, it would be adopted. This is not the 
> case; what decides whether a proposal is adopted or not is whether it has 
> real use cases and compelling reasoning.

Off-topic, but just for the record: there was no expectation that the RICG’s proposal would simply be accepted wholesale, for obvious reasons—just that we would be able to collaborate with the WHATWG on it. It wouldn’t have made much sense for us to call it a “proposal” otherwise, after all. :)

On-topic: the `main` class/ID pattern is an exceedingly common one, for sure. I use it all the time myself, in conjunction with `role="main"`.

I was originally of the mind that the role of “primary content” was served by the first `article` element within the document, but where the first `article` just represents the first sectioned stand-alone content in the document, it could be something like an infographic — capable of functioning independent of the surrounding document, but not the entirety of the primary content. Given the clear meaning of the proposed element, the low barrier to adoption by web developers, and the potential benefits this could have in terms of syndication and accessibility: it certainly sounds interesting!

The RICG published a stand-alone “use cases” document a while back ( http://usecases.responsiveimages.org ), to facilitate work on the extension specification. Is anything like this in the works for `main`/`content`/`maincontent`, at present? Seems like it would be a good next step!

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