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Why choose a paragraph element for a paragraph?

 
 
Jonathan N. Little
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      03-10-2009
dorayme wrote:

> Yes, I would say same as you. I agree with you. 100%. But I was
> discussing what I thought function|identity comes down to in real terms.
> A sort of explanation of it in terms that are simple and transparent and
> not left at an intuitive level.
>


I am not sure what you are asking. The HTML elements assign the specific
functionally of the content and there are generic elements that can be
customized. What would the sense be in <div class="paragraph">...? I
mean DIV works well for defining specialized sections

<div class="preamble">
<p>First paragraph in preamble...</p>
<p>Second paragraph in preamble...</p>
<p>Third paragraph in preamble...</p>
</div>



--
Take care,

Jonathan
-------------------
LITTLE WORKS STUDIO
http://www.LittleWorksStudio.com
 
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dorayme
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      03-10-2009
In article <7766d$49b67c82$40cba7c2$(E-Mail Removed)>,
"Jonathan N. Little" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> dorayme wrote:
>
> > Yes, I would say same as you. I agree with you. 100%. But I was
> > discussing what I thought function|identity comes down to in real terms.
> > A sort of explanation of it in terms that are simple and transparent and
> > not left at an intuitive level.
> >

>
> I am not sure what you are asking.


I was discussing some things. I was asking, I suppose, why a practical
website maker should use a P element instead of a styled DIV and I have
one answer I am inclined to give.


> The HTML elements assign the specific
> functionally of the content and there are generic elements that can be
> customized. What would the sense be in <div class="paragraph">...? I
> mean DIV works well for defining specialized sections
>

I have already said that it would not be a very sensible thing to do in
fact. But you and I would likely give different explanations about *why*
it is bad. I have previously outlined why I think it is bad and did so
again in a post to David just now.

For example, to add to what I might have said before, if I were to
confidently use a DIV style as a paragraph, I would need to control all
devices to ensure they have my styles turned on. I would need to take
more complicated actions for devices that were geared to read P tags but
not CSS2.1 styles so much... The idea I have about paragraph mark up is
that we website makers can take comfort in the fact that all devices
will understand them. And, as far as devices are concerned,
understanding is merely "being triggered by tags to deliver recognisable
presentations to humans".

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dorayme
 
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Duende
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      03-10-2009
On 10 Mar 2009 rf wrote in alt.html

> You are beginning to sound just like RtS.
>


Hey, he was the smartist person ever to inhabit this group.

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D?
 
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Jonathan N. Little
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      03-10-2009
Ed Mullen wrote:
> houghi wrote:
>> Jonathan N. Little wrote:
>>> Now generally a stud will be "styled" as a 2x4 @ 92" long just as a P
>>> has a basic default style. A stud may be a 2x6 or a 2x8 like a joist
>>> or rafter but the function is not the same just as a P may have
>>> larger text like a H2 or H3 but their functions are different.

>>
>> And many people in the world will say "2x4 what?"
>>
>> houghi

>
> Dang! Good question. What is a standard metric stud anyway?
>


Probably 2x4 since 2x4 != 2"x4"

--
Take care,

Jonathan
-------------------
LITTLE WORKS STUDIO
http://www.LittleWorksStudio.com
 
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houghi
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      03-10-2009
Jonathan N. Little wrote:
>>> And many people in the world will say "2x4 what?"

>>
>> Dang! Good question. What is a standard metric stud anyway?

>
> Probably 2x4 since 2x4 != 2"x4"


2x4 what? I found some different measurements. All in mm. (sorry, in
Dutch)
http://www.hardeman.nl/webshop_harde...d440fafd47deeb
or http://tinyurl.com/cs3ouh

houghi
--
Personally, I think most sports fans are a little "gay". They'd
rather watch a bunch of sweaty guys jumping all over eachother,
than, say fashion TV - where hot models walk down the runway.
 
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Harlan Messinger
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      03-11-2009
Ben C wrote:
> On 2009-03-10, Harlan Messinger <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>> dorayme wrote:
>>> Why should a *practical* website maker choose a paragraph element for a
>>> paragraph?
>>>
>>> As far as I can work out, for no *other* reason than that the P element
>>> is associated in browsers with ready made styles that humans can
>>> recognise as indicating a paragraph. So it saves bother! Easier than
>>> fashioning styles for a DIV.

>> That's backwards. If it weren't for the sense that text is decomposable
>> into paragraphs, there wouldn't be any motivation to *display* text in
>> the form of visibly separate paragraphs.

>
> That doesn't follow at all!
>
> Paragraphs are groupings of text on a page with some kind of spacing
> between them, and people have some kind of a feel for how text should be
> organized into them.


Paragraphs were a late development in writing. Do you think people
started spacing their text into chunks for no reason, and then started
thinking of those chunks as something called paragraphs--and then
decided to start using this chunking as a nifty way to structure their
text, as long as they were doing it anyway?

Writers of Thai and Japanese don't visibly separate their words. That
doesn't mean they don't conceive of their speech as being divided into
words. Conception of the structural divisions may or may not lead to the
use of visual cues. The structural divisions are there regardless. The
presentation is not the core nature of the divisions.

> That's _all_ there is. That people have some kind of a feel for how to
> use paragraphs does not imply there is any such thing as an "abstract
> paragraph" somewhere behind the scenes which a "visual paragraph" is
> merely a means of displaying.


Yes, it does imply that.
 
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rf
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      03-11-2009
Ed Mullen wrote:
> Jonathan N. Little wrote:
>> Ed Mullen wrote:
>>> houghi wrote:
>>>> Jonathan N. Little wrote:
>>>>> Now generally a stud will be "styled" as a 2x4 @ 92" long just as
>>>>> a P has a basic default style. A stud may be a 2x6 or a 2x8 like a
>>>>> joist or rafter but the function is not the same just as a P may
>>>>> have larger text like a H2 or H3 but their functions are
>>>>> different.
>>>>
>>>> And many people in the world will say "2x4 what?"
>>>>
>>>> houghi
>>>
>>> Dang! Good question. What is a standard metric stud anyway?
>>>

>>
>> Probably 2x4 since 2x4 != 2"x4"
>>

>
> Err, inches are metric?
>
> What I meant was:
>
> In North America a "stud" is 2 inches by 4 inches by 8 feet (unplaned
> - actual finished dimensions are less). It never occurred to me that
> overseas, where they use metric measures, that a stud would/might
> differ in dimensions. So, my question was:
>
> What does a wall stud in, say, the UK measure? Do they measure it in
> inches? Millimeters?


In .au studs are normally 100mm by 50mm. Length is a multiple of 600mm,
usually 2.4metres.

However any chippy worth his sawdust will call them a lump of 4by2.

>
> "Standard" ceiling height is usually 8 feet here, hence the stud
> height. Although, over the last ten or 15 years that has tended to
> have crept up to 9 feet or more.


2.4m. 2.7m.


 
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Jukka K. Korpela
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      03-11-2009
Harlan Messinger wrote:

> Paragraphs were a late development in writing.


Originally, paragraphs were often separated just by a special character like
. Writing material was expensive, so you filled the entire available width
by letters, without leaving any unnecessary holes. Separation of paragraphs
was, however, important enough to justify the use of a separating character.
The word "paragraph" originally referred to the separating character.

The use of the character of course reflects the idea of dividing text into
parts, typically a few sentences long, and such division has a counterpart
in spoken communication - either in the division of conversation into
utterances of different people, or in the division of a speech or other
longer presentation into parts, typically separated by pauses and (in good
style at least) dealing with one topic.

Later, in more wasteful times, the character was written at the start of a
new line, so a paragraph break was indicated both by leaving a line shorter
than the available width and by the special mark. Then people got the idea
of omitting the character but leaving empty space. (A line break alone
isn't quite sufficient, especially when the last line of a paragraph happens
to be almost as long as the available width.) This is how first-line indents
came into use, and this is how paragraphs are still presented in literary
style.

The more modern and more wasteful method of leaving an empty line (with no
first-line indent) is questionable on several grounds. Far from _defining_
what a paragraph is, it's just the common default in HTML rendering,
reflecting the habits of typewriting and word processors - and contexts like
Usenet.

--
Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/

 
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dorayme
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      03-11-2009
In article <(E-Mail Removed)>,
Harlan Messinger <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> Ben C wrote:
> > On 2009-03-10, Harlan Messinger <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> >> dorayme wrote:
> >>> Why should a *practical* website maker choose a paragraph element for a
> >>> paragraph?
> >>>
> >>> As far as I can work out, for no *other* reason than that the P element
> >>> is associated in browsers with ready made styles that humans can
> >>> recognise as indicating a paragraph. So it saves bother! Easier than
> >>> fashioning styles for a DIV.
> >> That's backwards. If it weren't for the sense that text is decomposable
> >> into paragraphs, there wouldn't be any motivation to *display* text in
> >> the form of visibly separate paragraphs.

> >
> > That doesn't follow at all!
> >
> > Paragraphs are groupings of text on a page with some kind of spacing
> > between them, and people have some kind of a feel for how text should be
> > organized into them.

>
> Paragraphs were a late development in writing.


Is this relevant to the webpage maker facing the *given fact* of a
paragraph right now in March 2009?

> Do you think people
> started spacing their text into chunks for no reason, and then started
> thinking of those chunks as something called paragraphs--and then
> decided to start using this chunking as a nifty way to structure their
> text, as long as they were doing it anyway?
>

People started spacing some of their texts into chunks for good reasons.
They did not *then* decide to use this chunking for any further nifty
thing. The nifty invention was already invented when chunking was
invented. When the car was invented, driving it was not a further
invention.

> Writers of Thai and Japanese don't visibly separate their words. That
> doesn't mean they don't conceive of their speech as being divided into
> words. Conception of the structural divisions may or may not lead to the
> use of visual cues. The structural divisions are there regardless. The
> presentation is not the core nature of the divisions.
>


Not sure of Thai but can't see *quite* in what respects you say this
about Japanese words (there are many compound *concepts* here). Kanji
uses Chinese iconic characters and these are separated, and there are
other additional things to make their writing useful. Anyway, this is
not a very transparent argument.

Perhaps how an English essay is marked up simply has to be dealt with by
translation facilities as best as possible (and vice versa). It does not
follow that there is some abstract object between languages because one
piece of work in one language can be translated into another language.

It may simply be that quick and efficient tools for some translational
tasks leave a lot to be desired. What is a chunk of writing in English
may even need special provisions (and I am talking more than pauses) in
talking.

If an audience is blind, the "whole thought" that is para in English
writing may really be better presented *not* as a chunk with pauses
either end. If you are really serious about making pages accessible to
blind people, you may need to reorganise quite differently. A paragraph
is a very visual concept and has some limitations translated into speech
or other languages.

> > That's _all_ there is. That people have some kind of a feel for how to
> > use paragraphs does not imply there is any such thing as an "abstract
> > paragraph" somewhere behind the scenes which a "visual paragraph" is
> > merely a means of displaying.

>
> Yes, it does imply that.


Then it faces the difficulties implicit in my last paragraphs. Much much
more transparent is to simply take the paragraph as a given. It is a
pattern and it is known to huge numbers of humans, there are often
awkward ways to make other patterns do the same kind of communicative
job for other languages and modalities (sight/sound/braille).

It is patterns all the way up and all the way down.

--
dorayme
 
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Jukka K. Korpela
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      03-11-2009
dorayme wrote:

>> Paragraphs were a late development in writing.

>
> Is this relevant to the webpage maker facing the *given fact* of a
> paragraph right now in March 2009?


It is. But do you know what the word "fact" means, for a fact? Consulting a
good dictionary, or especially a good manual of style might surprise you.
Specifically, paragraphs aren't facts.

Quite often, people who lack better arguments call some opinion of theirs a
fact just because it's not a fact at all and is strongly under dispute (or
just plain wrong). If you know that something is really a fact, there is no
need to call it a fact; you just know it, and if you need to tell others
about it, you just tell it and, if relevant, present the evidence or refer
to it. "This is a fact" is quite comparable to "This is not spam."

> People started spacing some of their texts into chunks for good
> reasons.


That's not correct. Spacing is a recent invention. Well, a few centuries
old, but that's recent when compared to thousands of years of written
language and probably hundreds of thousands of years of human language.

Division into chunks, in some sense, has always been an integral part of how
we use language, from the dawn of language - for all that we can now.

--
Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/

 
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