[uf-discuss] Need a figure markup

Chris Messina chris.messina at gmail.com
Sat Oct 29 11:52:30 PDT 2005

Greg, certainly interesting comments and things I'd not really
considered when asking about a "figure" MF. Let me focus my request in
order to simplify the use cases. The topic you broached is a good one
worth investigating but might be a separate thread from this one.

What I'm particularly looking for is a simple classing system (or a
generic class!) that theme designers can add to all their templates
and style a certain way, in effect creating a semantic replacement for
those three alignment classes I cited.

There are two use cases that I'm focusing on at first (which are
really variants of the same thing): in blog posts where you want an
illustrative photo (see
for example). And in other cases like on the NYTimes or CNET when they
have screenshots, tables and so on that complement the local content
(see http://news.com.com/Legal+P2P+opens+for+business/2100-1027_3-5911718.html?tag=nefd.lede
for multiple examples). In a sense you might even use the form
convention for labels (<label for="related-element-id">) to apply a
"figure" to a portion of text... But I'm just brainstorming.

Anyway, does that clarify my needs? The suggestions have been quite
helpful so far, so I'm wondering if this further description might
help narrow the discussion.


On 10/29/05, Greg Elin <greg at fotonotes.net> wrote:
> I want to be a bit provocative in my reply regarding positioning of
> photos, etc.
> The core problem is not styling, but the scant treatment of
> multimedia in HTML itself. A core problem it is time to fix,
> especially on the verge of SVG.
> Whereas HTML offers a number of tags for presenting text, HTML offers
> but a single tag for handling an image (<img>) and a two tags for
> multimedia objects that differ little (<object> <embed>). Whereas
> HTML offers tools for making distinctions between paragraphs, line
> breaks, bullet points, and sections of documents, HTML offers nothing
> to distinguish between a thumbnail and full resolution image. HTML
> gives something as sophisticated as footnote and caption for tables,
> but fails to include the understanding/manipulating of a caption of
> an image, or an author or copyrights of an image.  Overall, I would
> say tables get a bit better treatment in HTML than images or
> multimedia, but still not as much as text and document.
> At this point in time, the industry has a much better handle on the
> conventions surrounding the inline inclusion of images, audio,
> animation, video's, advertising, etc., in side an electronic document
> -- or better put as part of the delivered markup source. Image maps
> and the alt parameter let us add links and a pinch of information to
> an image, but woefully inadequate compared to what we do and are
> trying to do at this point in time. Up/Down, Next, Previous are
> pretty standard conventions when navigating image collections. Other
> aspects of digital imagery is on the tip of our mainstream
> consciousness even if we are still groping for household names,
> concepts like: who, where, when, device, resolution, altered, pixels,
> file-photo.
> What should that little thumbnail that accompanies almost every entry
> on news.google.com be called? What is the right term for a person's
> icon next to their forum post or in their IM.
> I wonder if this is really just a question of better alignment, or a
> need to think about how images (and multimedia and (tabular) data)
> attaches, like footnotes, to our accumulating experience of how link-
> able electronic content works.
> Greg Elin
> On Oct 28, 2005, at 8:33 PM, Chris Messina wrote:
> > Over coffee this morning, Ryan, Tantek and I discussed the need for
> > generalized markup for figures like photos, tabular data, graphs and
> > so on in blog posts.
> >
> > In particular, the way that images are typically rendered in a blog
> > post by default leaves something to be desired (floating right with
> > some margin helps tremendously but requires that styling to be applied
> > inline or via theme/stylesheet).
> >
> > The WordPress theme Kubrick uses the classes "alignright",
> > "aligncenter" and "alignleft" to handle these things, but those
> > classes are hardly semantic or generalizable. What we need is a way to
> > encapsulate any kind of figure and then use other microformats like
> > hCard for citations or credit, Fotonotes and so on.
> >
> > Anyway, I thought I would throw this out there and see what the CW is.
> > hFigure might be something to think about...
> >
> > Other ideas/comments/proposals?
> >
> > Chris
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> >
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