Re: The META element
Sun, 11 Sep 1994 18:35:56 -0600

Peter Flynn writes:
> Terry writes:
> > So Sidebar is perhaps a kind of block-linked-to-document rather
> than block-linked-to-point, perhaps something else.
> Ping! Sorry, but you pushed a button there. Conceptually, a sidebar is
> basically a footnote that gets printed in the margin. I see no reason
> to treat it any other way than as a special case of <footnote>, with
> positional _recommendations_ in an attribute.

I agree with Peter here.
Marginal notes, sidepar, changepar, etc should be treated analogously,
without undue emphasis on how a visual formatter displays them.
The fact that a footnote is printed at the bottom of a page, and a marginal
note printed on the margin is more a visual layout decision, rather than any
significant difference in the logical structure represented by these

For instance, when AsTeR renders footnotes, I had a rendering rule that
resulted in the footnotes being spoken on the right speaker alone (AsTeR uses
stereo) at a slightly faster speech-rate. In a way, you could then say that
footnotes went into the margin.

The advantages of encoding constructs like sidepar ina layout independent way
are numerous; a browser can choose to render the object at a time most
convenient to the user.

For example, AsTeR provided a "float" rendering rule for footnotes, which
allowed footnotes to "float" to the end of the rendering of the enclosing
paragraph, section, or chapter, (with this choice entirely left to the

If a footnote or sidepar were to be too closely "bound" to the point of the
text where they occur, such flexible rendering would be impossible.