Re: simple HTML list considered harmful

Dave_Raggett <>
From: Dave_Raggett <>
Message-id: <>
Subject: Re: simple HTML list considered harmful
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 93 16:23:56 BST
Mailer: Elm [revision:]
Marc writes,

> My objection is that people (real people -- users, authors, ...)
> almost invariably think in terms of line breaks, not line beginnings.
> Similarly paragraph breaks, not paragraph beginnings.  All (?) other
> document processing systems (TeX, Microsoft Word, ...) hold to these
> models.  Sure, you begin sections and you begin chapters and you begin
> blockquoted regions, but paragraphs and lines are such a low-level and
> intrinsic part of the concept and practice of text that it seems far
> more natural to think in terms of breaks, as usual.

Defining <P> and <BR> as separators means you can't treat them as
containers. This means you can't tag a paragraph/line with an identifier
or rendering attributes such as alignment.

Quite a few people have asked for <P> as a container and most word
processing applications use a container model. The paragraph symbol is
only present as a GUI handle for merging paragraphs. There seems to be a
growing feeling that many authors will create and maintain documents in a
richer format and convert to HTML/HTML+ for delivery to the Web. Having <P>
as a container is much closer to existing formats and will preserve more
information than as a separator. Its a pain that SGML has no mechanism
for postfix operators!

Most authors won't notice the difference so long as browsers don't require a
leading <P> and ensure that a <P> after a header has no effect on spacing.