Anne van Kesteren


Is this the future? I think I wanted to have this on my own weblog when I saw Tantek his source code, but I always thought it was wrong. Just read the replies of liorean in yesterday's my last post (Google: "Re: The Myth of CSS") for some reasons.

I found this information on the dwh!{dezwozhere:blog}, which is quite a good link/quote web log. Thanks!


  1. I really like the idea of Tantekism myself. Something about sections (divisions) of a page marked as lists appeals to my compulsive semantic side...

    My biggest gripe however is the tag-soup-like markup created by lists. Where we once only had a single div, we now have a list with several list items (possibly even one). Trading one semanticly "safe" element for two somewhat questionable elements raises doubts.

    Also I can't figure out how create a centered fixed-width body with sidebar without adding a useless ul with a li for each column (content and sidebar, each of which is it's own ul - basically see above). Maybe a hybrid? What exactly is the difference between a division and a sequence of blocks?

    Posted by Stephen at

  2. Really, the contents of a page, aren't a big list. I've thought a lot about this in the past couple years.

    There are divisions of content...between a menu and and article and the copyright or disclaimers, etc, etc. If you put them all in a list, it semantically claims they're all related in a way that they're really not.

    Of course, one could use multiple lists. That doesn't really help all that much, because still you have divisions of content. I think sometimes people forget that a DIV element truly has a semantic meaning, it's not just general.

    If one really wanted to, instead of using P elements, they could use LI's, since a series of paragraphs are a form of listing. But really, would that be semantically best? I doubt it.

    So the way I see it, there's a time and place for every element. Sometimes I think people see a new technique or learn a new element and overthink it's use.

    Posted by Devon at

  3. This list mania is going too far.

    A sequence of objects doesn't necessarily constitute a list of objects. A book is a sequence of paragraphs; a paragraph is a sequence of sentences; a sentence is a sequence of words and punctuation; a word is a sequence of letters. There is not a list in sight, however.

    Where does it end? Will we have <ol class="word"> with a <li> for each letter?

    A menu on a web site can be seen as a list. It is, after all, a list of links that belong together in some way. It doesn't have to be marked up as a list, but doing so makes sense.

    Marking up an article as a list of paragraphs does not.

    There is also a current trend of (IMHO) abusing definition lists. I don't think everything that can be expressed as a pair of objects should be marked up with a <dl>. This is approaching the tag soup mess of the '90s; we're abusing the markup language because it doesn't provide the semantic richness we'd like.

    (X)HTML can never be semantically rich enough to suit everyone. It's a generic language that has to fit all kinds of information. My advice is: learn to live with it. Use the semantic possibilities it offers, by all means, but don't go overboard.

    Posted by TOOLman at

  4. Although it's not explicitly written in the recommendation, a List usually has the notion, that the units of the List are in some way equivalent to each other: Lists are some kind of controlled vocabullary.

    Menus are great for Lists, as the entries of a menu SHOULD be -for reasons of usability equivalent and homogenic to each other.

    In the burned example, the heading is part of the list. But a heading is not equivalent to the units of a list.

    Figure 1B

    [Hey Anne! I tried to add here the sorucodeexample of that figure, but I got a funny errormessage, Like "you tried to send invalid code. Needles to say, you failed", although my code was quite valid. :]

    Nested Lists have a notion of a subclass/superclass relation, but are in the same time far more ordered that a sequence of divs, as listunits are by definition an meaningfull sequence of units, while divs, may only be ordered, because HTML has no concept of parallelity.

    Posted by ben at

  5. I agree Tommy placing the heading within the list was uncalled for and I would assume it would only confuse Assistive Devices.

    Posted by Robert Wellock at

  6. That's too bad, Robert, because I just altered my markup along the lines that you suggested! :)

    (It also allowed me to lose an extraneous <div>, which I'm loathe to reintroduce.)

    Posted by TOOLman at

  7. Marking your document up, with <div /> or <section />, <p /> and <hx /> in combination with counter is a much better way I think. Lists are lists, they're not a way for describing elements on the same height but they're a way of describing small information that belongs to eachother. If the information you're offering is big, use alinea's and headers instead of using lists.

    Disclaimer: I didn't test the compatibility of counters, so it could be possible that it's impossible to do such things :).

    Posted by Pieter Belmans at

  8. Opera alone can manage true CSS generated counters.

    Posted by Robert Wellock at

  9. One look at example 1 and then at the source code for that document and it becomes obvious that this is just not semantically good.

    A header and then it's content on the next list item?

    The specs say it all and there's no reason to read further than the section about headings.

    The fact that a header is necessary in your markup just goes to show that, in fact, what follows is not the same as what preceded.

    Posted by Mike P. at

  10. Another fine point. I totally agree with Mike.

    Posted by ben at

  11. This bothered me a bit, so I decided to go a little further in responding on my blog.

    Posted by Mike P. at

  12. I agree with Mike P. I wrote as much on my own blog. I dubbed it listitis.

    Posted by Ben de Groot at

  13. [...] muziek. Daarom, zijn definition lists wat? Er zijn grenzen aan alles in lijstjes opdelen. Tantekism is er, vind ik toch, over. Maar valt het opdelen van [...]

    Posted by Development Weblog » <dl/> tov <hx/> en <p/> at