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si-blog
the web log of Simon Jessey

Monday, September 23rd, 2002

Why do we need a deprecated element in XHTML 2.0?

The first Working Draft of XHTML 2.0 includes the <br /> element. The element is referred to as deprecated in favor of the new <line> element. This new element has far more structural control than <br /> did. It will also allow the author to control the appearance of individual lines with CSS. Since XHTML 2.0 is not intended to be backwards-compatible with previous versions of XHTML or HTML, I do not understand why any kind of deprecated element should be included. Surely the old <br /> element should be completely removed from the specification?

I also notice that the Working Draft details a presentation module, featuring the <hr /> element, <sub> and <sup>. I would argue that inline controls like subscript and superscript probably have a place in the specification, in the same way as <em> and <strong>, but I see no need for the horizontal rule element, since it is purely presentational and can be easily mimicked with some simple CSS. I believe <hr /> should be removed.

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