It’s true that “most widely used” is often different from what is “standardized”. And because the whole CommonMark effort is an exercise in standardization (alas without any “officially” sanctioned status, of course), the question turns out to be whether it is a good idea
to use the terminology of related standards (widely used or not), or
rather try to “elevate” a widely-used term to a pseudo-standardized level, and use it in the CommonMark specification instead of existing terminology.
I haven’t dug very deep into the HTML 5 specifications yet, but what I’ve seen so far did not exactly fill me with awe nor made me shiver with an–tici—pation …
Right now I still have the hope that I have severely misunderstood the whole HTML 5 approach, and that I will one day see through and beyond my puzzlement the crystal-clear, well thought-out, forward-looking, both versatile and upwards-compatible specification that HTML 5 is supposed to be.
But don’t hold your breath, I certainly don’t
Didn’t you get the memo?
I did, and I shook my head in disbelief.
English is a foreign language for me too, but according to what I can deduce from context, “itemizing” here means something like “visually marking [the beginning of] each item in a list”, ie with some “item marker” like a “bullet” (this is consistent with the use of this term in LaTeX and in OASIS DocBook).
But if each item is marked individually, typically with an item number or letter in place of the “marker”, this would constitute an “ordered list”, or “enumerated” list, and would not be called an “itemized” list.
Finally, a “plain” list, where each “list item” is just a paragraph (even if indented) without any sort of “item marker”, would then be a “simple list” (consistent with the use of that term in the ISO 8879 “general document” DTD, and in OASIS DocBook), and would not fall under the definition of “itemized list” I attempted here.
By the way: Please note that it’s not me having an issue with “unordered” and “ordered” list, nor with “itemized” and “enumerated” list. [ I’m having “an issue” with “bullet list” and “numbered list” instead ]
In CM the different unordered list markers determine whether an item belongs to an existing list
You’re right of course: the specification explicitly says so, and even has an example. I somehow forgot that case (but wouldn’t rely on it being commonly implemented anyway), and consider it more of a kludge (useful to enforce consistent input markup) than being a generally useful feature: how do you “split” a numbered list? Change between “
2.”, then “
1)” and “
A list-related feature which is missing and would be useful IMO would provide a way to continue an “ordered” list, after some intervening stuff “interrupted” the list, like in this faked example:
1. First Item in list.
2. Second item in list.
But that’s of course a rather different topic.
I’m not sure what you mean by “standard HTML” here, but the HTML markup of your example—from what I can see in my browser—looks like this:
Do you mean that a user agent would be allowed to present an “ordered list” in the style of your example, that is in a manner where in the “marker box” of each item of the list is a chinese celestial stem1) instead of a decimal or roman or alphabetic numeral?
Of course that’s “allowed” in “perfectly standard” HTML: to start with, for the simple reason that the HTML specification (or for that matter: the DocBook or any other2) document type specification) does not and reasonably can not require a particular rendering style beyond rather general hints about the “meaning” of the various element types.
This is of course in stark contrast to specifications of document formats or formatting languages and so on, where for example a particular LaTeX style or the RTF specification as a whole does constrain the rendering of governed document instances pretty narrowly (I think the same does hold for the OpenOffice XML document format)—right up to page description languages like PDF, SPDL, and PostScript or Microsoft’s XPS / ECMA OpenXPS, which do nothing else but fixing and constraining the “presentation” or rendering of documents.
- I freely admit that I had to use Google for that one. Hooray for Unicode!
- Except of course document types which are explicitly designed to also convey presentation information (like the mentioned OpenOffice XML, or simpy HTML with embedded CSS
style attributes) or are even dedicated to this purpose (like XPS and OpenXPS, which are page description languages).
But what has this to do with the difference between “ordered” lists (where each item is “marked” with an individual “marker”, taken from an ordered set, be it decimal or roman numerals or celestial stems or counting rods or cuneiform numerals or whatnot) and “unordered” (or “itemized”) lists (where each item is “marked” in the same way, say with a “bullet” character)?