As by the HTML 4.01 specification, all attribute definitions of lists, such as ordered lists and unordered lists, are deprecated, meaning that you can't make a list purely in HTML that would skip some numbers, e.g. 1, 2, 3, 5 skipping 4. Previously you could use start or value attribute to set a value for the list item. Now, as the attributes have became deprecated, any self-respecting coder would expect CSS to kick in with the alternative. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Now, in more detail, the goal would be to get a list that looks like this:

Ordered list skipping values

So let's turn to CSS 2.1 specs for help.  Currently, what lists have, is this:

  • list-style (shorthand)
  • list-style-image
  • list-style-position
  • list-style-type

Pretty simple and no replacement for the start/value attributes. So a fully valid HTML 4 / CSS 2.1 approach leaves us with the possible workaround:

  <li>Chap who came 3rd</li>
  <li style="list-style-type: none;">Another chap who shares the 3rd place</li>
  <li>A bloke who came 5th</li>

Which would render like this:

  1. Winner
  2. Runner-up
  3. Chap who came 3rd
  4. Another chap who shares the 3rd place
  5. A bloke who came 5th

The above is fine, it works, but code-wise it's not quite right. There's still no 4 in the list, but it's not showing.

Unfortunately there's no straightforward replacement mechanism in CSS 3 either. Similarly, there's no solution for the legal lists.

Let's hope W3C will revise it at some point.