[uf-discuss] More responses to slashdot comments

Sho Kuwamoto skuwamot at adobe.com
Thu Jul 13 13:17:29 PDT 2006

Michael Leikam wrote:
> <span>s and <h4>s are not structurally equivalent.  span
> and div tags are general structural markup, while heading
> tags are specifically defined in relation to other heading
> tags.  Collectively they define an outline for the page,
> while the set of spans on a page defines nothing.

Exactly my point. There are two competing schema living in the same
document: the world of HTML (semantically poor and unextensible), and
the world of microformats. While this works out OK usually, I believe
there are cases where the two worlds combine in uncomfortable ways.

BTW, I don't know if saying that spans "define nothing" in the HTML
world fits with my view of the things. To me, spans and divs in HTML are
an escape mechanism that allows me to add my own meaning above and
beyond what HTML provides. For example, I might have an "appendix"
section, which I think of as "containing" other elements, such as h3,

> > This is essentially the same issue that people have with
> > hacks like
> > adding <div class="topleft"> into a document, which is
> > clearly presentational. 
> That may be an unfortunate choice of class name, but one of
> the uses of class names is as a style sheet selector[1] so
> I hardly see that as a hack.  Web pages have an inherent
> presentational aspect and coding specifically to address
> that isn't something to discourage.

Well, I guess my viewpoint is that adding span tags with classes into
your HTML purely for the sake of having a place for CSS to attach itself
is, in a way, adding presentation to your document. In an ideal world,
the divs and spans would be added to your document to represent
structure, and CSS would be applied later to make it look right.

For example, I might have a page that has four sections: "mainNav",
"adSection", "links", and "main". Creating divs for these sections seems
fine. I'm just marking out parts of my document that have meaning. 

Depending on the look I wanted to achieve, I might find myself needing
to surround, say, the first three divs by another div (let's call it
"leftColumn" because there is no semantic relationship between these
three sections). That, to me, feels like adding markup to your document
for the sake of presentation.

Anyway, getting back to my earlier point... I think the pros of
microformats outweigh the cons, so I'm not arguing against microformats.
I'm just saying that when people look at all the spans and divs with
classes on them and wonder if that will complicate things... well... I
think it's a fair point. It probably does slightly complicate things.


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