Re: <PRE tab-width=4>

Joe English (
Fri, 27 Jan 95 14:39:42 EST

Dave Raggett <> wrote:

> [I wrote: ]
> > This [<PRE tabstops="...">] would also be useful. (And, I hope, might
> > replace the bletcherous <TAB> element in the current
> > HTML 3 draft.)
> Sorry Joe, I can't let you get away with this! The <tab> element is aimed
> at normal not pre text, where you run into problems in defining tab stops
> reliably, given that you don't know what fonts or margins the client is
> using. For instance, if you use "em" units which roughly scale with the
> font, the variability between different font metrics, and the fact you
> may be mixing different fonts on the same line along with inlined images
> makes this of limited use.


After further consideration and discussions on this list,
I've reversed my opinion on the tabbing issue.

<PRE tabstops="..."> and <PRE tabwidth=###> would be
of limited utility after all, since <PRE>formatted text will need
to be massaged by the provider anyway in all but the simplest cases.
<PRE tabstops="..."> can't do anything that can't be done
by a server-side filter, but <TAB> can: pretty-printing
source code and pseudocode. 'tgrind' or any of the literate
programming tools could be modified to output HTML 3 instead
of TeX; <TAB> will be indispensible in the presence of
variable-width fonts.

My initial objections to <TAB> were because it looked like a
visual formatting directive of the worst sort. Now that I think about it,
it really is structural markup (just not the kind of structural
markup one usually sees in SGML).

Sorry for calling it "bletcherous". My mistake :-)

--Joe English