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  1. #1
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    What kind of markup should the forum be?

    We're at the very early stages of planning an overhaul to the forums, so it spits out clean, semantic and accessible client-side code - no tables for layout, no inline scripting or styles, better accessibility, microformats etc.

    And at this stage I'd like to throw the idea out to the forum, to talk about what kind of markup should be used. Clearly, for data that is tabular, tables should still be used. But how much of the data actually is tabular?

    For example, to take the "featured threads" list on the front page. At the moment it's basically like this:
    Code HTML4Strict:
    <tr>
    	<td>
    		<div>
    			<img src="thread_hot_new.gif" alt="" />
    			<strong>
    				<a href="showthread.php?t=481142" title="View this thread">
    					Open Source Project Goes Pro, is This Good or Bad?
    				</a>
    			</strong>
    			<div>
    				<span>
    					&ldquo;This is not really a business problem but since 
    					it relates to business models it might fit this category. 
    					What to do when an open source project goes pro? ActiveCollab, 
    					the open source knock off of BaseCamp. Will be changing their...&rdquo;
    				</span>
    			</div>
    			<div>
    				<span>
    					posted by <a href="member.php?u=100919" title="View this member's profile">dev_cw</a> 
    					in <a href="forumdisplay.php?f=61" title="View this forum">Business and Legal Issues</a> 
    					| <a href="showthread.php?t=481142" title="View this thread">15 responses</a>
    				</span>
    			</div>
    		</div>
    	</td>
    </tr>

    I'm thinking it should be more like this (part of an ordered list, not tabular at all):
    Code HTML4Strict:
    <li class="hot new">
    	<hN>
    		<a href="showthread.php?t=481142" title="View this thread">
    			Open Source Project Goes Pro, is This Good or Bad?
    		</a>
    	</hN>
    	<blockquote cite="http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/showthread.php?t=481142">
    		<p>
    			This is not really a business problem but since 
    			it relates to business models it might fit this category. 
    			What to do when an open source project goes pro? ActiveCollab, 
    			the open source knock off of BaseCamp. Will be changing their...
    		</p>
    	</blockquote>
    	<dl class="properties">
    		<dt>Posted by</dt>
    		<dd><a href="member.php?u=100919">dev_cw</a></dd>
    		<dt>In</dt>
    		<dd><a href="forumdisplay.php?f=61">Business and Legal Issues</a></dd>
    		<dt>Responses</dt>
    		<dd>15</dd>
    	</dl>
    </li>

    And what about a forum view, like http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=38 It looks tabular, but is it actually tabular data, or is it just visually a grid? Could it not [also] be a list, with a heading, description, and a definition-list of properties (last post, replies, views)? Or maybe it's just a headings heirarchy, with no list-markup at all?

    Any and all thoughts are welcome

  2. #2
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    Guffaw? Will have to think about this...

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Tyssen's Avatar
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    I think your featured threads markup is about right.

    I think the forum view should still be a table because you can sort information based on columns.

    Off Topic:

    Are you living in Australia permanently now? Or is this just a working holiday?

  4. #4
    SitePoint Guru
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    Ah that's interesting, I hadn't considered the sorting option. So does that behavior imply something about the nature of the data, or is it just behavior? The same behavior could be implemented with any elements, but tabular data can be cross-referenced by rows and columns.

    Off Topic:

    We'll see

  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Tyssen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brothercake View Post
    So does that behavior imply something about the nature of the data, or is it just behavior?
    Sorting data is something you can do in spreadsheeting applications, so to me, that lends itself to the theory of it being tabular data. You also use ORDER BY in SQL which is a language for querying database 'tables'.


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