[microformats-discuss] [admin] before posting new pages to the wiki...

mark rickerby coretxt at gmail.com
Sat Aug 27 23:04:39 PDT 2005

> Such "experimentation" or even "design" is not new.
> Modern web designers have for some time been using semantic class names, ids
> etc.
> Thus microformats itself is not really an invention.
> It's more of a recognition of that broader pattern of web content design and
> authoring itself.

Reminds me of some ideas that come up when looking at the history of
science, where it appears that the borderline between discovery and
invention is actually very blurred. Often English doesn't lend itself
well to talking about things in terms of processes.

It can be very hard to say that someone "invented" something when much
of their creation hinged on serendipitous discovery, but invention is
still a relevant aspect of what is going on. Or conversely, often the
"discoverers" of new things "out-there" in nature are really just
inventing new technology or a new way of looking at things. I wonder
that the discovery-vs-invention overlap is a common "pattern" that
could be found in any endeavour where there is some kind of "progress"

> Now some folks who don't know semantic XHTML very well write things like:
>  <div class="heading">
> instead of simply using <h1>, <h2>, <h3> etc.

I've experienced a bit of grief on projects caused by WYSIWYG editors
that did exactly that. It can get pretty frustrating.

It does seem like the standards are much higher now than what they
were even just a year ago. To some of my recent clients, semantics
(not just accessibility) has become an important aspect of the
deliverables they want to get right for their site. They will care
about the difference between a <dl> and a <ul> now, wheras not so long
ago, it wasn't uncommon to have 2-3 nested tables doing the same thing
and nobody cared.

> One could even say <div id="content"> is semantically redundant with <body>
> for example.
Agree that it is to a certain extent semantically redundant, but I
think it's used in a more specific way, to emphasise that a certain
sub-part of the document contains the core page content. This has
proved to be very useful for layout designers, and also makes it
easier to target a specific content area with a print stylesheet.

> > showing how the intuitive reactions of designers over the past 3-4
> > years of CSS development has led to certain commonalities in
> > structure.
> That certainly has taken place.  Some of those commonalities are patterns,
> and some are workarounds for browser bugs and limitations.  Thus it is
> useful to examine/deconstruct them.
> > Maybe it belongs in a more design focused context, I'm happy to remove
> > it, my apologies for misinterpreting the purpose of the wiki pages.
> Or perhaps such examples belong in a more *general* context of
> web-markup-patterns where we can then discuss and maybe separate them into
> design patterns and anti-patterns, and provide the reasoning for each so
> other folks can discern between examples of the two.

Thanks for that. I've already started collecting various examples of
"could-be" patterns, but from here on, I'll post questions to the list
before embarking on documenting anything.


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