Re: Formatting Options in HTML?

Aleksandar Totic <>
From: Aleksandar Totic <>
Message-id: <>
Subject: Re: Formatting Options in HTML?
Date: Wed, 12 May 93 16:53:50 CDT
In-reply-to: <9305122040.AA08909@ >; from "Tim Berners-Lee" at May 12, 93 10:40 pm
X-Mailer: ELM [version 2.3 PL11]
> You are dead right, HTML is not supposed to be specific
> about formatting.  If we started with justification, where would
> it end?  (Actually, we started with <I> for italic, but there
> it ended.) 

I agree that HTML should not be specific about formatting. But it
would be good if there were better guidelines about how browsers
should implement formatting instructions. This is because writers of
hypertext make some assumptions about how will their text be
presented. For example, when should carriage returns be inserted into
text? Many writers assume that CR is inserted automatically before
each header line, and do not put it in there explicitly. Now, someone
else might want to make a list item appear in the header style, like
 <LI><H1> This item should attract attention </H1>

The formatter that inserted CR before each header would add an
unintended CR when header starts, and line would come out like this:

This item should attract attention

instead of like this:

 o This item shoud attract attention

To correct this problem, the parser could either not insert CR before
the header, or use a rule of thumb like "do not insert CR before
header when you are in the line item".

I am thinking about adding such rules to my parser. But then whoever
edits documents and uses my parser to look at them, and then sees
their text displayed differently on another parser, will complain.

If there are no guidelines, the writers might just settle down for the
simplest formatting. I would prefer some kind of standard, so that
people who desire some variety in their text could get it.