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Subject: RE: [dita] Proposal for Consideration: Default Behavior for List Items

This seems to be a topic that many people feel strongly about. Some people take the side that Bruce is advocating in his message (the more restrictive docbook approach?) and others take the other approach (the less constrained html approach?). Both sides have justifications for their preferred approach.  The arguments go round and round.


DITA 1.0, 1.1, and 1.2 all allow either approach.  This allows DITA to support both sides and to serve as a base for adding further constraints via specialization, via the new DITA 1.2 constraints mechanism, or through the adoption of authoring guidelines that may or may not be enforced.


I don’t think that we can make any changes here without making existing valid DITA documents invalid.  And I don’t think we should do that.  If we had agreement that it was something that we wanted to change (something we don’t have and which I think we are unlikely to get in the future), the soonest I think we could consider changes is DITA 2.0.  I’ve no idea when we might expect to see a DITA 2.0.


For DITA 1.2 we plan to clarify the wording in the DITA Architecture Specification and in the DITA Language Specification to make it clear that the different styles of list markup do not necessarily imply or require different output formatting, but that different output formatting is allowed. Also, that we encourage, but do not require that the formatting of lists for different outputs be consistent no matter which list markup style is used.  These are the two points that Eliot wanted clarified, but because people feel strongly about this stuff the discussion quickly expanded to the broader and more philosophic discussion.


Or at least that is where I think we left things the last time we discussed this.




From: Bruce Nevin (bnevin) [mailto:bnevin@cisco.com]
Sent: Tuesday, June 10, 2008 12:22 PM
To: dita@lists.oasis-open.org
Cc: Bruce Nevin (bnevin)
Subject: RE: [dita] Proposal for Consideration: Default Behavior for List Items


[Not sure if this is the right way to contribute to this thread, but I don't see any contributor hooks on the page or in the Help. Responding to http://lists.oasis-open.org/archives/dita/200804/msg00060.html.]


I agree that rendering is an OT issue.


The real issue IMO is that <li> permits #PCDATA and phrase-level elements. These should only be permitted in paragraph-level elements, and any element that permits paragraph-level or "larger" elements as children should not permit #PCDATA and phrase-level elements. This behavior seems to be a relic of the HTML standard.


It is easy for OT and vendors to insert <p> by default, and if <li> begins with some other child element it is only a minor nuisance to delete <p> or insert that child ahead of <p>.


This would simplify the work of rendering and remove the ambivalence that is the topic of this thread.


Perhaps this is already being considered for 1.3 or 2.0.


    /Bruce Nevin

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