[uf-discuss] W3HTML WG, HTML5, semantics, and so on

Maciej Stachowiak mjs at apple.com
Sat May 12 15:15:21 PDT 2007

On May 11, 2007, at 3:15 PM, John Allsopp wrote:

> Hi all,
> I'm not sure how many here (a few at least?) have been following  
> developments with the W3's HTML WG.
> In essence, the future of HTML will be HTML5:
> "We are resolved, then, that the W3C's next-generation HTML  
> specification be named "HTML 5" and to start review of the text of  
> the HTML 5 and WF2 specifications, and we welcome Ian Hickson and  
> Dave Hyatt as editors (while remaining open to the possibility of  
> other editors in the future)." [1]
> Of particular relevance to this mailing list is the way in which  
> HTML5 provides mechanisms for extending the semantics of HTML - and  
> the discussions around the issue of semantics in HTML generally.  
> This thread on the very busy mailing list (which is in effect is  
> now the official communications channel for the development of  
> HTML) should give a sense of the general way in which people  
> involved are thinking. [2]
> I'd argue that things don't look overly promising on that front at  
> present. Two mechanisms are currently used in HTML5
> 1. A small number of new HTML elements, like <copyright>

HTML5 does have new elements, some of which are mainly for semantic  
purposes, but it does not at present have a <copyright> element. Some  
of the new elements include <header>, <footer>, <section>, <article>  
and <aside>. HTML5 also applies semantics to some formerly  
presentation elements based on their most common use, for instance  
<small> is defined to be appropriate for details that would normally  
be in fine print.

> 2. "reserved" class values that coincide with currently widely used  
> class values in the wild (though whether any two instances of the  
> same class value will always imply the same thing is open to  
> consideration, at the very least).

The current proposal does have a predefined "copyright" class though.

> Unfortunately the HTML WG mailing list is ludicrously busy - 1000+  
> messages a week, so keeping up with it, and participating is,  
> frankly, impossible, but I do think it is an area in which  
> participants in this community have a significant amount of  
> theoretical and practical experience with, and the HTML 5 efforts  
> would definitely benefit from that. In the associated threads I've  
> seen very little mention of ufs, and where they have been  
> mentioned, somewhat critical (abbr pattern problems, even with ufs  
> no one uses profiles so HTML 5 should get rid of them ...)
> From the outside, the whole enterprise does look like possibly  
> falling into a heap of political/religious/theoretical debates, and  
> does make me feel that at time arguably restrictive policies of  
> what's on topic for these mailing lists in fact serve the community  
> very well in many ways.
> Anyway, just a little update on something that is without doubt  
> very relevant to the efforts of the uf community, and hopefully  
> many of the lessons hard learned over the last few years developing  
> ufs might benefit the HTML  WG efforts

The HTML Working Group (and the WHATWG, which is continuing to  
operate in parallel) would welcome participation from microformats  
experts and advocates.


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