Over on the HTML5 Doctor site, Oli has written a great article called Quoting and citing with
<cite>, and the
Now, I still stand by my criticism of the way the
cite element has been restrictively redefined in HTML5 such that it’s not supposed to be used for marking up a resource if that resource is a person. But I think that Oli has done a great job in setting out the counter-argument:
By better defining
<cite>, we increase the odds of getting usable data from it, though we now need different methods to cover these other uses.
Oli’s article also delves into the
blockquote element, which is defined in HTML5 as a sectioning root.
Don’t be fooled by the name: sectioning roots are very different to sectioning content in a fundamental way. Whereas sectioning content elements—
aside—are all about creating an explicit outline for the document from the headings contained within the sectioning content (using the new outline algorithm), the headings within sectioning roots (
figure, etc.) don’t contribute to the document outline at all! But what sectioning roots and sectioning content have in common is that they both define the scope of the
footer elements contained within them.
footer element is defined as containing
information about its section such as who wrote it, links to related documents, copyright data, and the like.
This gives a rise to rather lovely markup pattern that’s used on HTML5 Doctor: why not use the
footer element within a
blockquote to explicitly declare its provenance:
<blockquote> <p>The people that designed .mobi were smoking crack.</p> <footer>—<cite class="vcard"> <a class="fn url" href="http://tantek.com/">Tantek Çelik</a> </cite></footer> </blockquote>
(and yes, I am using the
cite element to mark up a person’s name there).
Well, apparently that
blockquote pattern is not allowed according to the spec:
Content inside a
blockquotemust be quoted from another source.
Because the content within the
footer isn’t part of the quoted content, it shouldn’t be contained within the
I think that’s a shame. So does Oli. He filed a bug. The bug was rejected with this comment:
If you want the spec to be changed, please provide rationale and reopen.
That’s exactly what Oli is doing. He has created a comprehensive document of block quote metadata from other resources: books, plays, style guides and so on.
Excellent work! That’s how you go about working towards a change in the spec—not with rhetoric, but with data.