Bug 16026 - This is general feedback on the overall standard, as far as I understand it. This is feedback from an average web user who knows a decent amount of fundamental HTML (primarily self-taught) who regularly uses it to varying degrees on various forums, blogs
Summary: This is general feedback on the overall standard, as far as I understand it. ...
Alias: None
Product: HTML WG
Classification: Unclassified
Component: HTML5 spec (show other bugs)
Version: unspecified
Hardware: Other other
: P3 normal
Target Milestone: ---
Assignee: Ian 'Hixie' Hickson
QA Contact: HTML WG Bugzilla archive list
URL: http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/...
Depends on:
Reported: 2012-02-19 08:08 UTC by contributor
Modified: 2012-05-25 01:54 UTC (History)
5 users (show)

See Also:


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Description contributor 2012-02-19 08:08:25 UTC
Specification: http://dev.w3.org/html5/spec/Overview.html
Multipage: http://www.whatwg.org/C#top
Complete: http://www.whatwg.org/c#top

This is general feedback on the overall standard, as far as I understand it. 
This is feedback from an average web user who knows a decent amount of
fundamental HTML (primarily self-taught) who regularly uses it to varying
degrees on various forums, blogs, and personal webspace.  Quite simply put,
this standard seems in many ways to be unnecessarily biased towards
integration with CSS, and is considerably more complicated and thus incredibly
inaccessible to most average casual users of the web.  For example, some of
the formatting tags rendered obsolete such as "center" (or according to some
sources, "u", though I could not find mention of it in this document) are
extremely commonly used in blogging and on personal webspace.  In the context
in which many web users use these formatting tags is when they specifically
want to format items WITHOUT or irregardless to CSS; the point is generally to
make an EXCEPTION to a style, rather than to make a style.  However, nearly
all of this document as well as what is reported about the proposed seems to 
focus nearly exclusively on defining styles.  It appears that it will be
highly inaccessible to most casual users, where the current html standard has
many tags that are simple and highly intuitive.  I also wonder what will
happen to the many blogging and other similar websites in which users have
numerous entries that are already written making extensive use of
now-deprecated formatting.

I'm not certain whether this feedback will be truly heard, let along
considered, but what I am able to understand of this is quite alarming, and I
hope that you can take these concerns into consideration.  As usage of the
internet becomes increasingly prevalent, standards such as HTML ought to
become /simpler/ whenever possible, rather than more obfuscated.

Posted from:
User agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 6.1; en-US; rv: Gecko/20110303 Firefox/3.6.15
Comment 1 Jonathon VS 2012-05-25 01:54:37 UTC
You are quite right: there is a trend towards moving presentation to CSS. This is not done with the intention of frustrating people who want concise code, nor to change something that works simply for the effect of changing it.

Restricting HTML to structural elements and reallocating the presentation to CSS allows for styles to be reused, and allows HTML files to be indexed more easily for things besides the human eye, such as search engines or assistive technologies for those with vision disabilities. This move isn't intended to be a bias, but merely a transition to a more flexible platform that we see much of the Web is already adopting.

It is true, thousands of websites do use presentational HTML elements. Although these HTML elements are largely being removed from the HTML5 spec, they are certainly valid in other specifications, such as HTML 4.01 Transitional, which are still W3C Recommendations. Because of these elements' prolific presence on the Web, support for these elements is incredibly unlikely to be removed from user agents (e.g. Web browsers) in the near future. We are noticing, though, that many Web-based shortcode generators (e.g. bbCode) and WYSIWYG editors (e.g. TinyMCE) that are used on blogs and personal webspaces, are starting to conform to HTML standards. WordPress, for example, which uses TinyMCE, automatically corrects invalidly nested elements and uses the STRONG element instead of B when the "bold" button is clicked on the toolbar.

The issues you have mentioned have certainly been considered by the HTML Working Group. In fact, it seems as though for every Web designer we have requesting these elements be retained, there are as many Web developers begging for them to be removed. :) XHTML2 did not include the B, I, or U elements, whereas HTML5 includes all three. We are hoping to strike a fair balance.

Finally, I appreciate what you say about HTML5 needing to remain simple. Indeed, ease of use is one of HTML's great strengths. It is the aim of the Working Group to make HTML5 a dynamic, powerful markup language that is usable in a variety of situations. This is why all of the elements added to the specification have been designed to be intuitive and meaningful to the person writing the code, so that it is evident which element is appropriate for which purpose. It is also important that the Recommendation document itself be worded in a way that is easily readable and understandable to a variety of audiences.

Thank you very much for your input.