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Re: use id="xx" instead of <a name="xx"> in html output

From: Per Bothner
Subject: Re: use id="xx" instead of <a name="xx"> in html output
Date: Tue, 9 Feb 2016 08:29:45 -0800
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:38.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/38.5.0

On 02/08/2016 09:37 PM, Gavin Smith wrote:
On 9 February 2016 at 02:11, Per Bothner <address@hidden> wrote:
Currently, in html output the node "Foo" generates a <a name="foo">
element.  In general I think it is better to an id="Foo" attributes.
Reasons that come to mind:
(1) Simpler and less cluttered html, since we can attach the id attribute
to some other suitable element, rather than generating a separate one.
(2) JavaScript code can use getElementById to find the node.
(3) Better logical structure, since we can attach the id to something
that "represents" the node - typically a <div> node.

Reason (2) is a good reason, although I wonder if there isn't some
other way to achieve the same result in JavaScript. For example,
follow a hyperlink to "#Foo" where "Foo" is the name of the node.

I don't know of a good way to "follow a link" except by changing the location.
Though I'm still learning.

The info.js snippet I posted used brute force to search the entire document
for the <a> containing the name attribute.

Reason (3) I discuss below. Reason (1) is minor.

Another problem is whether this use of "id" is valid for the version
of HTML we target: the files are declared as "HTML 4.01 Transitional",
but I read that this use of the "id" tag was only introduced in HTML5?

"id" is in HTML 4.01:

I suggest two categories of <div> elements:
A "node" includes all the content of a single node,
but *not* sub-nodes.leaves unanswered
A "chapter" or "section" (or "part" or whatever) <div>
encloses the current node - and sub-nodes.

I see no need for a two levels of <div>. "Nodes" are an artifact of
the Texinfo source. They don't have an idiomatic meaning in HTML. In
the Info format, they define the target of a cross-reference and also
define a sub-unit of the Info file.

A node does have a meaning in HTML: It is the part of a chapter/section/
whatever that is not a child chapter/section/whatever.  As such it is
useful if you want to simulate --split=node after-the-fact.  Specifically,
you may want to hide everything except the current node.

div[current="false"} { display: hide }
and then you use JavaScript to set the "current attribute to "false"
on all nodes except the current one.

The idiomatic way to show a chapter structure in an HTML file is with
the heading commands <h1>, <h2>, <h3> etc. No need to wrap each
section in two layers of <div>s.
Something like:




is more idiomatic HTML.

This would imply the wrong structure, since the "header" for a chapter
comes *before* the h2.

It also is more complicated for tools (including JavaScript)
to figure out the structure.

Rather than using <div class+"section"> it may make sense to use HTML <section> 
And maybe <header> (or <nav>) elements for the links.
These should be harmless in order browsers (though that needs to be tested).

So my example becomes:

<section class="chapter" id="Chapter1"><div class="node">
<header>LINKS for chapter1</header>
<table class="menu">...</table>
</div><!--end of "node"-->

<section class="section" id="section11"><div class="node">
<header>LINKS for section11</header>
</div><!--end of "node"-->
</section><!--end of "section"-->

<section class="section" id="section12"><div class="node">
<header>LINKS for section12</header>
</div><!--end of "node"-->
</section><!--end of "section"-->

</section><!--end of "chapter"-->
        --Per Bothner
address@hidden   http://per.bothner.com/

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