Re: Why "ul"?

Peter Flynn (
09 Mar 1995 12:07:43 +0000 (GMT)

Evan writes:
> > <ul> is easier to type than <list unordered>. It costs less network
> > bandwidth. It's here today and it works.

GOTO is easier to type than IF...THEN...ELSE or DO WHILE. It costs
fewer cycles. It's here to day and it works. But I'm not suggesting
you use it.

If people are seriously worried about typing a few extra chars, they can
either get an SGML/HTML editor (dammit, Emacs and HoTMetaL are _free_) or
make a macro for their existing one.

In any event, it ought to be <list type="unordered">. If you don't like
long attribute values, <list type=U> should be sufficient.

> Forgive this perhaps naive question, but just why is it called an
> "unordered list"? I could see the U standing for "unnumbered", but I

I think it's because "unordered" means something different from
"unnumbered". An unordered list is a list where the items can occur in
any order: sequence is not important. An unnumbered list is ambiguous:
it is not clear if this is a list where sequence _is_ important, but no
numbers have yet been allocated, or if it is an unordered list.

> presume that the viewer is not supposed to have license to actually
> reorder the items un a "ul" list.

Right, but it shouldn't matter if a browser did randomize them
(hey, _great_ idea for an April 1st release of a browser :-)

> Most markup languages I'm familiar with (LaTex, Scribe) call this an
> "itemized list". Is the name just a historical accident or is there a
> technical reason behind it?

In printing it's called a "bulleted list" if it has bullets and just a
plain ol' "list" if it don't. "Itemized" is just a more generic term
in case you specify something other than the default $\bullet$ for
\item (I think...)