[pmwiki-users] how to use HTML5

Lars Eighner surname at larseighner.com
Tue Jul 3 08:04:34 CDT 2012

On Tue, 3 Jul 2012, a.sonderhoff at gassi-tv.de wrote:

> As discussed earlier in this mailing list, PmWiki is not just targetting
> the average wiki use, but is also considered to be a full-fledged CMS.  As
> such Paul?s question is totally legit and the use of HTML5 especially
> considering, that its support will be essential soon,

It is not clear to me in what sense HTML5 will be essential soon.

> makes sense to me.  I also don?t think, that user experience will be
> complicated by the introduction of HTML5/YAML4 to PmWiki.  In the end the
> introduction of additional markup is just another possibility for advanced
> users to declare structure within the content.  If PmWiki would only
> target naïve users, there would not be (:table :), (:if :) and other
> directives.

As it is, the XHTML TABLE element is not fully supported now (or did I miss
the markup for THEAD etc.?)  There is plenty of (X)HTML not represented in
the PmWiki core such as CITE, ADDRESS, and so forth.

> However, I agree with Lars, that implementing certain structural markup
> will be more than just a little tweak.  That said, I never experienced any
> problems generating HTML5 code with PmWiki, that do not use the new
> structural tags (or YAML4 for that matter), by simply creating an HTML5
> template.

It is hard to imagine any potential new flavors of HTML that would not be
backward compatible with the core PmWiki markup.  However, it is also hard
to imagine that PmWiki could entirely accommodate everything in any HTML

For example, HTML5 brings back a redefined I element. HTML5 I is probably
more like what most users mean when they use wiki '', which is now
translated EM.  What should be done?  Quietly change the PmWiki translation
of '' to I, on the grounds that the new, improved I will most be compatible
with what most users of existing wikis meant most of the time?  Insist ''
means EM and find a new wikism for I?  Ignore the new, improved I
altogether? Rip everything out to the walls, recast all the markup,
abandoning existing installations?

Of course, most users, most of the time will be happy so long as '' comes
out in an italic font because wikis are pretty much come down on the
presentational side.

Everything except ignoring most of HTML5 would not require a lot of work but
would also require a lot of soul-searching questions about what a wiki is,
and so forth.  I don't think I am putting words in the author's mouth to say
the PmWiki philosophy is very minimalist -- putting just essential stuff in
the core, enough to get a wiki up, and leaving the rest for user extensions
via the Cookbook.  That's why there is really no problem with declaring your
documents HTML5 and making suitable adjustments in the template.

Then it is up to you how far you want to go in HTML5esque extentions.  You
probably do want VIDEO.  If I is a better translation of what you want '' to
mean than EM, that is simple enough.  Maybe you do not really need a markup
for EM then because you never really mean EM when you use ''.

But the SECTION and ARTICLE elements within the body of an entry are not
really very useful by themselves, and I think there is a good case to be
made that in a wiki there will never be enough call for them to make the
effort of an extension worthwhile.  Do you really want to write a book on
one wiki page?  Or would the wiki way be to Group a book or a journal?

Lars Eighner
8800 N IH35 APT 1191 AUSTIN TX 78753-5266

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