Hot HTML Summer: Text basics

A list of tags for this post.

This post is a part of a series where I write a post for each module of the Learn HTML course. I'll note things I didn't know, highlight interesting items, and generally enjoy having a Hot HTML Summer.

This post covers the Text basics module of Learn HTML. Each section below corresponds to a section in this module of the course. The quoted items are relevant passages from the course.

Headings, revisited


Go to this section at Learn HTML.

There are six section heading elements, <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, <h4>, <h5>, and <h6>, with <h1> being most important and <h6> the least. For many years, developers were told that headings were used by browsers to outline documents. That was originally a goal, but browsers haven’t implemented outlining features.

More tea spilling, and indeed still a point of consternation. Just today Manual Matuzović posted an example of “how to prove that there is no document outline algorithm even though user agent styles are telling a different story”. The resulting discussion illustrates the frustation.

However, screen reader users do use headings as an exploration strategy to learn about the content of the page, navigating through headings with the h key. So ensuring that heading levels are implemented as you would outline a document makes your content accessible and is still very much encouraged.

I knew this, but wanted to highlight this because it’s important!

Interestingly, browsers by default also decrement the <h1> font size based on how many <article>, <aside>, <nav>, or <section> elements it is nested in.

This I didn’t know! There’s an image example that’s worth checking out. I also did a quick CodePen example to see for myself.

In HTML, paragraphs are marked up with the <p> tag; the closing tag is optional but always advised.

Optional? I didn’t know that one either. I tried it, but I didn’t like it, although nothing horrible happened.

Quotes and citations


Go to this section at Learn HTML.

The information about the quote author, or citation, is not part of the quote and therefore not in the <blockquote>, but comes after the quote.

Whoops! I’m doing this wrong in at least a few places. One of those places is the Junk Drawer, which uses headless WordPress as a CMS with Eleventy. The default WordPress quote block offers the ability to add a citation below the quote. The citation is wrapped in <cite> and is part of the <blockquote>, which is not valid.

There’s no mention of the citation in the current WordPress quote block documentation. Perhaps I’ll add “Hot Learn How to Make WordPress Blocks Summer” to the list. In the meantime I have a plan on how to manually fix these that may or may not warrant a post.

If the review (in the example, view at CodePen) was pulled from a review website, book, or other work, the <cite> element could be used for the title of a source. The content of the <cite> can be the title of a book, the name of a website or TV show, or even the name of a computer program. The <cite> encapsulation can be used whether the source is being mentioned in passing or if the source is being quoted or referenced. The content of the <cite> is the work, not the author.

At MDN there’s a long list of examples of potential uses for <cite>.

To provide credit where credit is due when you can’t make the content visible, there is the cite attribute which takes as its value the URL of the source document or message for the information quoted. This attribute is valid on both <q> and <blockquote>. While it’s a URL, it is machine readable but not visible to the reader.

In other words, adding a link to the cite attribute does not make the element, for example a <blockquote>, a clickable link. I can confirm since I’ve used it! But I will be checking my sites to make sure I’m using <cite> or cite correctly with <blockquote> (or <quote>!). The good news it that both WordPress and Eleventy by way of markdown-it correctly apply paragraph tags within a <blockquote>.

A list of tags for this post.

Enjoying this site? Leave me a tip at Ko-fi!

Back to top