Roy Fielding (
Mon, 3 Jul 95 20:01:29 EDT

Tom Magliery said a while back:

>The unfortunate problem with META is that it's currently defined as an
>empty element. I certainly have no problem with changing it, but isn't
>that the sort of thing that throws people into fits about "breaking
>existing documents" and so on?

People like me. META was defined as an empty element specifically
because certain browsers were broken in their presentation of element
content within the HEAD of a document. If that were not the case,
than we would not have needed META, since it is much more SGML-friendly
to define a separate element for each significant type of metainformation.

The reason why we have used

<META http-equiv="owner" content="Roy">

instead of

<Owner http-equiv>Roy</Owner>

is only because pre-2.5 Mosaic and (last time I checked) Netscape
would render "Roy" in the latter case and not in the former.

META exists as a halfway-house for unrespected metainformation
(a way for authors to define metainformation without changing the DTD
and without impacting older user agents). Respected metainformation
(as defined by future versions of HTML) should be defined with their
own elements.

....Roy T. Fielding Department of ICS, University of California, Irvine USA
Visiting Scholar, MIT/LCS + World-Wide Web Consortium
( (