[thelist] Bold vs. Strong

Keith Dahlby dahlbyk at softhome.net
Wed Aug 13 09:23:19 CDT 2003


>I'm not really sure if anybody'll back down on this argument, but I do have
>one more general question... since XHTML is eXtensible HTML, would it be an
>option to define a new HTML tag in the DTD so that the markup still reflects
>the meaning of the information and not the presentation?
>The danger would seem to be--assuming that I'm in the correct mindset this
>morning--that defining one's own tags willy-nilly defeats one major purpose
>of XHTML... interoperability.  Other systems may be able to derive the
>syntax from the definition file, but they won't necessarily know what the
>new tags mean in the broader sense.

You're exactly right. It is indeed possible to define new XHTML elements 
for use in a given document or set of documents. And though you *can* 
define a new element with an implied semantic value, the element means 
nothing to user agents that don't understand your extension of the DTD. So 
it really comes down to your audience. If you're authoring only for the 
general public with IE 5+, then maybe defining a new element would be 
overkill. On the other hand, if you intend to transform your information 
later on, perhaps creating a preview/overview from the <skim> text, then 
the eXtensibility of XHTML is at your service. This extension would also be 
understood by any XML-literate user agent, allowing users with modern 
browsers to view the styled text as intended.

That said, you really just need to ask yourself why you want the text 
styled. Unless there's a specific semantic meaning for the styled text, and 
there is a user agent or parser that will understand that meaning, it's 
probably unnecessary to define a new element. Now that we're past table 
layout and <center>, we need to realize that it's still completely 
acceptable to style text for the sake of styling it, and to do so we should 
be free to use the facilities that (X)HTML provides.

Cheers ~ K 

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