<PRE tab-width=4> [wcl@ome.sps.mot.com (Wayne Long): Feedback on "Hypertext Markup Language" Interne

Daniel W. Connolly (connolly@hal.com)
Thu, 26 Jan 95 13:25:29 EST

------- Forwarded Message

Date: Thu, 26 Jan 95 10:56:20 CST
From: wcl@ome.sps.mot.com (Wayne Long)
Message-Id: <9501261656.AA18750@ome.sps.mot.com>
To: timbl@info.cern.ch, connolly@atrium.com
Subject: Feedback on "Hypertext Markup Language" Internet Draft; expiration 13 Jan. 1994

Tim, Daniel,

I don't know if I've got the the latest version of the "Hypertext Markup Language"
Internet Draft but if so, perhaps this comment applies.

I've just finished reviewing this document, and have noted that tabs within
HTML documents themselves are defined as 8 characters wide.

I have an application where I an using Mosaic internally as a Software
Information Server. There are several Pages that allow the user to
display "living" C and C++ source code. The code is formatted using
a tab space of 4. The code looks horrible when displayed with Mosaic
which assumes a spacing of 8 (which is a correct assumption for many
text documents). It is not feasible to reformat for a tab width of 8
because they are "living" source files.

It would seem to make a LOT of sense to provide HTML with an option as to
how to display tabs in a text file. The HTML author would know, in advance,
whether the document should be displayed with a tab width of 4 or 8 or
some other width which is appropriate (pascal code often uses a width of 2).

So how about it? A tab width markup?

Wayne Long

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Wayne Long Internet: wcl@risc.sps.mot.com
Motorola - MMTG (Risc), MS OE318 UUCP: cs.texas.edu!oakhill!risc!wcl
6501 William Cannon Drive West Phone (512) 891-4649
Austin, Texas 78735-8598 FAX (512) 891-3818

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That's far from the latest version. See Roy Fielding's FTP site
for the latest version:


About tab width: The <PRE> element has a WIDTH attribute
(which sort of defaults to 80, and doesn't really do
anything on most browsers. When DSSSL-Lite comes along,
it will be much more useful.) I see no harm in
adding a tab-width attribute. So you could write:

<PRE Tab-Width=4>
int x;

Existing browsers will ignore the tab-width attribute, so there's
not much harm in using that markup. You could probably hack Mosaic
to support it in no time.

I don't see any harm in making this part of a future revision of
the standard. Anybody else?

Daniel W. Connolly "We believe in the interconnectedness of all things"
Software Engineer, Hal Software Systems, OLIAS project (512) 834-9962 x5010
<connolly@hal.com> http://www.hal.com/%7Econnolly