[uf-discuss] More responses to slashdot comments

Scott Reynen scott at randomchaos.com
Thu Jul 13 12:29:33 PDT 2006

On Jul 13, 2006, at 11:49 AM, Sho Kuwamoto wrote:

> For example, what is the difference between:
>    a) This is an <em>emphasized</em> point
> vs.
>    b) This is an <span class="emphatic">emphasized</span> point
> Presumably, (a) would be preferred over (b), although I personally
> prefer (b). (I think strong and em are copouts, but that's a whole  
> other
> story).

No need to presume here.  It's directly stated on the process page:


There are other things to try before developing a microformat. First,  
ask yourself these questions:

    1. Is there a standard element in XHTML that would work?
    2. Is there a compound of XHTML elements that would work?
    3. Ok, if the answer to the above two is 'no,' we can talk about  
a microformat.

XHTML semantics take precedence over microformat semantics.

> Ostensibly, the reason for preferring example A over example B is that
> there are two systems of semantics for two different reasons. The HTML
> view of the document says that the header is an h4. The microformats
> view of the document says it's a "summary". Example A allows both  
> views
> of the document to live together.

I think we prefer XHTML semantics over microformat semantics because  
semantics only become useful when understood and XHTML is widely  

> Are the span and div tags
> part of the HTML semantics, or are they just scaffolding to hold the
> microformat information?

They're part of HTML.  They're just parts that don't mean much.

> In other words, should we ignore the span and
> div tags when interpreting our document as HTML?

Until we have some need to communicate that something spans or  
divides, yes, we should ignore those semantics.  If they become  
useful, we should use them.

> This is essentially the same issue that people have with hacks like
> adding <div class="topleft"> into a document, which is clearly
> presentational.

Not necessarily.  Consider the following:

<h1>For sale: used monitor</h1>
<div class="description">
	<div class="bottom">The bottom of the monitor is in great  
	<div class="topleft">There is a slight discoloration in the top-left  

The meaning of "topleft" here has nothing to do with the presentation  
of the HTML document. The meanings of class attribute values are not  
pre-defined. The meanings of XHTML tags are pre-defined.


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