HTML5: The Battlefield Remains of an Unnecessary War, Part 5

by The H.E.A.T. Exchange

Discussion Point 2: Inheriting Another’s Imperfections

Have you even ran with a group of runners and, instead of keeping your head up and watching where you were going, you lowered your tired head and kept your eyes on the heels in front of you?

Where did you end up when you finally raised your head?

In developing HTML 5, the W3C decided to lower its head (or kowtow) and follow the heels (pun intended) of the WHATWG. HTML 5 is an example of the mislead leading the misguided or vice versa (the situation is so chaotic).

The original agenda of the W3C during the time of XHTML 2 was to remove all presentational elements from the markup language and create more semantic, or meaningful elements.

When the W3C decided to shelve XHTML 2 and follow the lead of the WHATWG, here is what actually happened:

Former presentational element B (bold) was given not a meaningful, but meaningless description.

Former presentation element I (italic) was also made ambivalent like the B element.

New element MARK is simply an example of a presentational cake given a layer of bullshit icing.

Reading the description of these elements, I cannot help but to recall a often used phrase: If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, then baffle them with bullshit.

The B and I elements, or tags, have always been used for presentational purposes. No one cared much about semantics or they would have used the STRONG and EM tags instead. No, folks wanted a particular appearance without having to put too much thought into it.

The WHATWG decided to accommodate the lazy coders by using all the intellect at its disposal to come up with descriptions to go over the top of level heads in order to keep junk in the specification. The result is that folks will simply say “F— it!” and, like turds, go with the flow.

The W3C did not have to allow these obvious transgressions against real semantics in the HTML 5 specification, but (like I said before about tracing) they became so caught up with following the HTML Living Standard, that they were led into a meaningless wall.

Take a look at this excerpt from paragraph 4.12.4 (Conversations) of the HTML 5 specification:

Authors who need to mark the speaker for styling purposes are encouraged to use span or b.

The brilliant think tank at the W3C is advising coders to use B for styling purposes. I thought B was made semantic…there were so many words from academia used to redefine it…and now you are telling me to use it for styling?

End of discussion point 2

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