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  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by r937
    disagree most strongly
    Maybe my meaning wasn't conveyed, or intepretted differently. The "developer" here means the ones that are designing the website and coding it. The "developer" that I mean are working for the clients who will put up the information, rather than us, the ones that are working on the technical stuff of the website. In that case, I'd say that the "header" and "footer" are much more straight forward than "logo image". If you are worrying about the client not understanding where they should place their information, you could well give them a list of divs and the corresponding information placement. Whereas, if you create the divs based on the info rather than the presentation, the next develop who comes in to modify your site will most likely be at a loss.

    Anyway this is going off-topic, all I was saying was the being a developer working for a client, presentation weighs more than information on the developer side. And the only time when a developer needs to worry about the information should be when they are designing the site so then the theme fits.

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    SitePoint Wizard aaron.martone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by r937
    sounds like a law firm
    I whole-heartedly recommend Dewey Sueum & Howe.

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    SitePoint Wizard chris_fuel's Avatar
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    that's easy -- a machine (e.g. a search engine bot) can figure out what a TITLE is, what an H1 is, which words/phrases to give more weight to via STRONG and EM, and so on

    DIVs being meaningless, it cannot extract any meaning from them
    HTMLX, XHTML, and XML themselves are absolutely meaningless. What gives it meaning is the parser (UA in the instance of HTML/XHTML). Why does a search engine bot know that <title> means something? Because some guys got together and went "Oh snap! Title should express a title! Brilliant!" while toasting to Guiness beer. Then in turn, some guy getting paid decent/crappy wages said "Hmm, that sounds like a good idea, let me make my search engine bot figure out that the title of this page comes from the title". Now with the <div>, some guys were like "Hey, let's divide up a page!", which comes down to the programmer who says "Hmm, let's shove some physical structure in here and toss out a linebreak to divide things up".

    So, does <title> actually mean anything? If I give a parser that knows nothing about how to parse a <title> tag a <title> tag, it's just one more thing that gets in the way.

    Now, if a parser is updated to accept <div id="footer"> as a footer, and work with it differently, then yes, the element does produce meaning. Remember folks, attributes are held within elements for a reason, because they are part of the element itself. If you don't believe me look at any DTD/XML Schema document out there.

    So again I ask, what's the point of all this again?

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris_fuel
    So again I ask, what's the point of all this again?
    okay, one example: search engines

    do you think TITLE is meaningless for search engines? no!

    do you think STRONG and EM and UL and all the other semantic tags have meaning for search engines? yes!

    does DIV do anything for your search engine listing? no!

    does adding id="footer" help with what the search engine thinks your site is about? no

    that's one example, and one that you should ignore at your peril (or, more specifically, at the peril of a good listing)

    right?
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  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by kefeso
    Maybe my meaning wasn't conveyed, or intepretted differently. The "developer" here means the ones that are designing the website and coding it. The "developer" that I mean are working for the clients who will put up the information, rather than us, the ones that are working on the technical stuff of the website.
    Maybe you mean designer?

  6. #31
    SitePoint Wizard chris_fuel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by r937
    okay, one example: search engines

    do you think TITLE is meaningless for search engines? no!

    do you think STRONG and EM and UL and all the other semantic tags have meaning for search engines? yes!

    does DIV do anything for your search engine listing? no!

    does adding id="footer" help with what the search engine thinks your site is about? no

    that's one example, and one that you should ignore at your peril (or, more specifically, at the peril of a good listing)

    right?
    Yes, in the context of a search engine that would all be correct UNLESS the search engine was programmed to parse that particular entity/attribute combination. Does it? No, probably not.. but unless we get a group of elite ninjas to infiltrate google and get all their secrets, we'll never know for sure

    I guess some of my confusion here was that the original summary never indicated what exactly was the parser, so there was no way to realistically answer that question (as the parser is the key element to that particular answer).

  7. #32
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    in the absence of any other information, i think it's safe to assume that the parser can be any user agent that can read html, which encompasses the semantics that we are discussing, which are used by, oh, what, approx twenty billion pages on the web...?

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  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris_fuel
    HTMLX, XHTML, and XML themselves are absolutely meaningless. What gives it meaning is the parser (UA in the instance of HTML/XHTML).
    The HTML spec defines the semantics of HTML elements and attributes. Not the UA.
    Simon Pieters

  9. #34
    SitePoint Wizard chris_fuel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zcorpan
    The HTML spec defines the semantics of HTML elements and attributes. Not the UA.
    Clarify what you mean by HTML spec please.

    Also, there are some UA's that take in HTML and expose a DOM model. That DOM model would give scemantics to that particular div because of the document wide unique id attribute (I am an element identified by the id of "footer").

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    Quote Originally Posted by chris_fuel
    Clarify what you mean by HTML spec please.
    you can find the html semantics on the w3.org site

    the semantics of id="footer" is exactly the same as the semantics of id="xrwfghcxbr" -- none

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    SitePoint Wizard chris_fuel's Avatar
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    Well, UA's that accept HTML, as stated before, can also have a DOM model exposed. As this particular model is part of the UA, it would be a good idea to consider it as well. That said, the difference in id="foobar" and id="barfoo" is clearly shown in getElementById('foobar'), where that would not work had the UA not known to consider the element based on the id.

    As for the HTML specs, you've got your DTD's, but they only really outline the general structure (You can have character stuff in here, or this has to be so many elements, etc). Pretty much everything on W3 is either a draft or a recommendation, as inidicated by those strange blue bars on the left hand side. How a human readable document would define how a UA interprets something sounds a bit strange.

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris_fuel
    Clarify what you mean by HTML spec please.
    This is the latest HTML spec: http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/

    Among other things, it defines the semantics of elements and attributes (in English prose).
    Quote Originally Posted by chris_fuel
    Well, UA's that accept HTML, as stated before, can also have a DOM model exposed. As this particular model is part of the UA, it would be a good idea to consider it as well. That said, the difference in id="foobar" and id="barfoo" is clearly shown in getElementById('foobar'), where that would not work had the UA not known to consider the element based on the id.
    The DOM has nothing to do with the "semantics" that are being discussed in this thread.
    Quote Originally Posted by chris_fuel
    As for the HTML specs, you've got your DTD's, [...]
    DTDs don't define any semantics, and they aren't specs.
    Quote Originally Posted by chris_fuel
    [...] How a human readable document would define how a UA interprets something sounds a bit strange.
    Why? After all, the UAs are programmed by humans. Most specs are (thankfully) human readable.
    Simon Pieters

  13. #38
    Non-Member lostseed's Avatar
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    What is Semantic?

    1. Of or relating to meaning, especially meaning in language.

    What the heck does that mean?

    You all are arguing if a class/ID assigned to an XHTML object is related to XHTML + CSS or inline css??

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    SitePoint Wizard chris_fuel's Avatar
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    Ok, well then:

    http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/stru...l.html#h-7.5.2

    * As a style sheet selector.
    * As a target anchor for hypertext links.
    * As a means to reference a particular element from a script.
    * As the name of a declared OBJECT element.
    * For general purpose processing by user agents (e.g. for identifying fields when extracting data from HTML pages into a database, translating HTML documents into other formats, etc.).
    seems like your spec is giving it meaning to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chris_fuel
    seems like your spec is giving it meaning to me.
    Yes, but it doesn't define any semantic difference between <div id="footer"> and <div id="foobar">.
    Simon Pieters

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    SitePoint Wizard chris_fuel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zcorpan
    Yes, but it doesn't define any semantic difference between <div id="footer"> and <div id="foobar">.
    * As a means to reference a particular element from a script.
    "Element that can be referenced by id footer"
    "Element that can be referenced by id foobar"

    * For general purpose processing by user agents (e.g. for identifying fields when extracting data from HTML pages into a database, translating HTML documents into other formats, etc.).
    Can at any time be made semantic by the user agent according to the workings of the user agent.

  17. #42
    perfect = good enough peach's Avatar
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    I can't believe there is actually an active discussion about this, of course it's semantic.
    It's a street myth that the <div> tag stands for nothing, div = document division.

    When you look at, for example, the front page of an academical paper, you can often see it is divided into a header, a body (sometimes) and a footer.
    Same goes for many webpages, the division of the document has the semantic value of a division, that's clearly not "nothing".
    For the people who say it is not semantic to enclose a footer in a division tag, doesn't a paragraph tag do the same? It groups a bunch of sentences that are related to eachother and contain more html elements.
    The only obvious difference is that browsers have default styling for paragraphs and so people see the value of using this tag more clearly but that has nothing to do with semantics.
    Semantics is about using something as it's creator has meant it to be used and using the div tags for dividing your document into header/body/footer is exactly what it was created for.

  18. #43
    Brevity is greatly overrated brandaggio's Avatar
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    Being semantic means to be self describing.

    If you use as little <divs> as possible, use the proper tags and use id's and classes only when needed then you are on your way to having a more semantically correct page.

    A <p> tag is semantic - it describes perfectly what is contains - a paragraph of text. If this paragraph needs more describing or a styling hook an id or class would be called for.

    A an id of "footer" (on a <div>, <ul> whatever) is to some degree semantic, but not so much as say "info-contact" or "info-copyright" - that is only if your containing tag (<div>, <ul> whatever) is not adequately descriptive on its own. If the page title is "Recipes" and there is only one list on the page then the list must be a "Recipe" list (as can be deduced by both human and machine).

    Finally, the semantic web is more an idea than anything else as it is in its infancy and easily misunderstood - there is no "semantic" page validation tool - you can only do your best to try to use the most descriptive tags, id and class names possible.

  19. #44
    Brevity is greatly overrated brandaggio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peach
    I can't believe there is actually an active discussion about this, of course it's semantic.
    It's a street myth that the <div> tag stands for nothing, div = document division.

    When you look at, for example, the front page of an academical paper, you can often see it is divided into a header, a body (sometimes) and a footer.
    Same goes for many webpages, the division of the document has the semantic value of a division, that's clearly not "nothing".
    For the people who say it is not semantic to enclose a footer in a division tag, doesn't a paragraph tag do the same? It groups a bunch of sentences that are related to eachother and contain more html elements.
    The only obvious difference is that browsers have default styling for paragraphs and so people see the value of using this tag more clearly but that has nothing to do with semantics.
    Semantics is about using something as it's creator has meant it to be used and using the div tags for dividing your document into header/body/footer is exactly what it was created for.
    I wanted to add that your point is even more true for module creation where code snippets need to re-used and self-contained.

    However if I can style an <h1> as well as I could <div id="header"><h1>My Header</h1></div> then why would I add the <div>? Let's say, for arguments sake the <h1> is followed by a tagline <h2>Some Tagline</h2> - there is already a logical seperation by using the two h tags. So if I were page building and not module building for an app I would try be as lean with the <div>'s as possible, as in many cases they do not serve a purpose.

  20. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by wozbk
    A an id of "footer" (on a <div>, <ul> whatever) is to some degree semantic, but not so much as say "info-contact" or "info-copyright"
    sorry, i have to disagree -- these are all semantically equivalent, and they are all equivalent to an id of "goobledegook"

    the only way ids (whether on a DIV or on any other tag) will have special semantic meaning is when an automated parser attributes extra semantic meaning based on their id value, and as of right now, that just isn't happening

    sure, they might "convey" some "special" meaning to a human being who happens to peruse the source code, but that's not what being semantic is about
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  21. #46
    SitePoint Wizard dreamscape's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wozbk
    Being semantic means to be self describing.
    No, that is not what the word "semantic" means. Semantics is the study of meaning in language. Nothing about a semantic study of an item says that it must be completely self describing to have meaning. Philosophically, the argument can even be made that nothing has any meaning on its own, and only context provides meaning.

    Back to the topic at hand. In a semantic study of HTML/XHTML, we must be concerned with more than just the meaning of the elements. At the very least, we should also be concerned with the meaning of the elements in relation to their contents. There are also concerns for the meaning of elements in relation to other elements and to the document as a whole. In the question posed, the latter two contexts are not available, so let's just ignore them for this exercise.

    Our semantic concerns are with the follow code, reprinted here since we're deep into page 2 or 3 of the thread now:
    HTML Code:
    <div id="footer">...</div>
    Within the HTML/XHTML language, the id attribute doesn't have much meaning. Within the language itself, its role is a fragment identifier, but I don't believe that is its purpose here. I also don't think XHTML allows it to be used as a fragment identifier on DIVs, but this part of the specs is not exactly clear. Since we're doing our semantic study of the HTML/XHTML within its own language, what we are really then studying is:
    HTML Code:
    <div>...</div>
    The first concern is with the meaning of the element itself, div. I for one am not of the opinion that studying the meaning of an item has only two possible outcomes being has meaning or has no meaning. I am also of the opinion that if a word/phrase exists in a language and is still in active use, that it obviously has a meaning. Although philosophically one could argue it does not, since semantics are more concerned with practical aspects than philosophical aspects, this point is of little meaning to the study. The real question or concern then is, what are its meanings and how significant are they? So even though there are more than 2 possible outcomes, perhaps we can group them into two categories of "has significant meaning" and "does not have significant meaning."

    Back to the element div. Certainly, this element has less meaning than most other elements. It does have meaning, document division, but I don't think it is that significant on its own, so I'll group it under "does not have significant meaning."

    Our 2nd concern is with the meaning of the element in relation to its contents. Since we are not given the contents of the div, this concern is not possible to study in any depth, but it is as equally important as our concern with the meaning of element itself. If the contents of the div are in fact a logical document division, then in relation to its contents, the div certainly would have significant meaning. If not, then it would have no significant meaning.

    For those who may be wondering if this 2nd concern really is as important as concern for meaning of the element itself, consider the following two cases:
    HTML Code:
    <p>Epsum factorial non deposit quid pro quo hic escorol. Olypian quarrels et gorilla congolium sic ad nauseum. Souvlaki ignitus carborundum e pluribus unum. Defacto lingo est igpay atinlay. Marquee selectus non provisio incongruous feline nolo contendre. Gratuitous octopus niacin, sodium glutimate. Quote meon an estimate et non interruptus stadium. Sic tempus fugit esperanto hiccup estrogen. Glorious baklava ex librus hup hey ad infinitum. Non sequitur condominium facile et geranium incognito. Epsum factorial non deposit quid pro quo hic.</p>
    
    <!-- vs. -->
    
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    Skipping the 3rd and 4th basic concerns, and thus having completed our primary concerns, that is those concerns with meaning in its own language, we could also get into concerns with meaning in relation to other languages, such as CSS or Javascript. I'm not going to go that far to save time, and because I believe I've already made my point well enough, which is: It's not a simple yes or no answer as one might initially think.

  22. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by dreamscape
    Within the HTML/XHTML language, the id attribute doesn't have much meaning.
    my point exactly

    the amount of meaning it has within the HTML/XHTML language is none
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    Quote Originally Posted by r937
    the amount of meaning it has within the HTML/XHTML language is none
    That's not quite true as I've stated it has a meaning within the language itself, though for a div it may not be true in XHTML, but again the specs are not exactly clear on this point.

    *edit* I did a quick check in Safari and Firefox and both recognize fragment identifiers on divs in XHTML 1.1. A fragment identifier has meaning within the HTML/XHTML language itself, but again I don't believe the OP intended the id="footer" as a fragment identifier. If he did that would slightly change my analysis, but I don't believe he did... though he is free to correct me if he did.

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    Brevity is greatly overrated brandaggio's Avatar
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    Definition of "The Semantic Web" From One Of Its Chief Architects

    Excerpted from: http://www.xml.com/pub/a/2000/12/xml2000/timbl.html

    Berners-Lee said that in the context of the Semantic Web, the word "semantic" meant "machine processable." He explicitly ruled out the sense of natural language semantics. For data, the semantics convey what a machine can do with that data. In the future, Berners-Lee anticipated that they will also enable a machine to figure out how to convert that data, too. He described the "semantic test," which is passed if, when you give data to a machine, it will do the right thing with it. He also underlined that the Semantic Web is, like XML, a declarative environment, where you say what you mean by some data, and not what you want done with it.

    Encouraging the audience to share his excitement at the vision, Berners-Lee related how difficult it was ten years ago when he was demonstrating the Web for the first time. Viewers seeing him progress from one document to another by clicking on links were nonplussed -- it's when the system scales that the advantages may be reaped. Shown a small example of linking zip codes between databases, we were asked to imagine the possibilities of this system scaling globally.

    Having outlined its scope, Berners-Lee explained each of the elements in the Semantic Web architecture. He explained the importance of RDF/RDF Schema as a language for the description of "things" (resources) and their types. Above this, he described the ontology layer. An ontology is capable of describing relationships between types of things, such as "this is a transitive property", but does not convey any information about how to use those relationships computationally.

    ---------------

    Tim Berners-Lee is the one who explains that moving forward, data should be intrinsically self-describing and therefore machine readable - this is old news.

    "He explicitly ruled out the sense of natural language semantics."

    "He also underlined that the Semantic Web is, like XML, a declarative environment, where you say what you mean by some data, and not what you want done with it."

    In this much newer article, http://www.digitaldivide.net/article...p?ArticleID=20, Tim outlines the same vision.

    I leave you all to infer what you like but it seems pretty clear...

    A <div> is supposed to be a generic container - used when a generic container is called for. If it needs an id or a class that name should describe the data is contains, not its position on the page - that is layout. What if the content is used out of context or repurposed? A "footer" could potentially have no meaning then.

  25. #50
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    nice one, wozbk, thanks

    so, can we finally put the topic of this thread to rest?

    yes, <div id="footer"> is not semantic
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