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Summary element

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The <summary> element is a new element in HTML5, a child of the new <details> element.

For the summary attribute, see Table Summary.

summary naming or flexibility

Currently the <summary> element is a special element specifically for use for the label inside the <details> element.

The name of the <summary> element however is too generic sounding of an element name for this special usage.

It is inevitable that people will begin using the <summary> element when they simply mean a semantic "summary", perhaps of a <section> or <article>.

I say inevitable due to the broad evidence presented by the known existing problem with the <address> element (special use - for contact information for the document, but used and often errantly taught as a generic "address" for street addresses).

Thus we should either:

  1. Rename the details <summary> to something more specific (suggestions welcome), OR:
  2. Alternatively make the <summary> element generic. Make it an actual summary inside <article> or <body>, as well as inside <details>. Allow <summary> anywhere <header> is allowed (basically, make it a part of the new section related elements).
  3. Add a generic summary element, <abstract> for instance.

I prefer the second solution, make the <summary> element more generic/flexible. — Tantek 20:38, 3 August 2010 (UTC)

summary flexibility advantages

Advantages of making the <summary> element more generic and flexible:

  • This is close to the semantic of the Atom "summary" element, and the hAtom microformat 'entry-summary' property.
  • This would allow an enhancement of the algorithm for converting HTML5 to Atom: take the first HTML5 <summary> inside an <article> being converted to an entry, and use that HTML5 <summary> as the Atom entry <summary>.


Opinions / discussion:

  • +1 Tantek - I think web authors would make good use of a new generic <summary> element.
  • Bruce Lawson: I don't think there's a need for a generic summary element. But I'd support renaming the summary attribute of details (because it doesn't really summarise). Perhaps "rubric" could replace details>summary and figure>figcaption ?
  • +1 Dion Almaer: <figcaption> or just reuse <summary> in more places. I am with @t on that one :)
  • -0 EdwardOConnor - I'm OK with the status quo; barring that, I'd prefer renaming <summary> to more specifically describe its use in <details>.
  • +0 Päper – I like general purpose, context-aware elements, but maybe the alleged confusion is better solved by a dedicated, intuitively named element: I added a third, <abstract>, option above – <tldr> would also be a popular name for it
  • ...