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[Bug 9349] Make <nobr> element conforming

From: <bugzilla@wiggum.w3.org>
Date: Fri, 02 Apr 2010 06:45:48 +0000
To: public-html-bugzilla@w3.org
Message-Id: <E1NxadY-0005f5-9e@wiggum.w3.org>

Ian 'Hixie' Hickson <ian@hixie.ch> changed:

           What    |Removed                     |Added
             Status|NEW                         |RESOLVED
         Resolution|                            |WONTFIX

--- Comment #2 from Ian 'Hixie' Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>  2010-04-02 06:45:47 ---
> <nobr> should be considered just as semantic as <pre> or <br>

<br> has virtually no use cases (just two that I know of, poems and postal
addresses). I've been seriously tempted to drop it.

<pre> is even worse; all its use cases (visual poetry, rendering computer code
in a visual fashion, ASCII art, showing text from other formats such as HTTP
headers, etc) are visual in nature. It is easy to argue that they would be more
correctly handled by using an <iframe> that points to a resource of an
appropriate MIME type (e.g. message/rfc822 when quoting an e-mail, or
text/python when quoting python code), since at least in those cases a
non-visual UA could maybe make sense of the data.

However, both <br> and <pre> have something that <nobr> does not: they convey a
semantic that is otherwise not available in HTML. There's no way other than
<br> or <pre> to convey that a newline in HTML is meaningful. There's no way
other than <pre> to convey that multiple spaces in a row are meaningful. While
it's not clear what this really means for non-visual media, one can at least
imagine that in some cases it would make sense to indicate this information.

What are the _semantic_ use cases for <nobr>? Sure, it can be used as a
presentational element equivalent to <span style="white-space: nowrap">, but
what does it mean? When would you use it in a fashion that is not redundant
with something else? (For example, "inline computer code" is not a valid
answer, since <code> can be used for that and can easily be styled with
white-space: nowrap.) When would you use it in a fashion that would never make
sense to override in an alternative style sheet?

Sure, it's used a lot, but then so are <font> and tables for layout. It's also
common to omit alt="" attributes. This doesn't mean that we should allow it. It
means we should work out why people are using it, and address that problem. It
might be that there's a limitation in CSS. Or it might be that there's a real
semantic in HTML for which it makes sense to have <nobr>, the same way as one
can argue for having <br> and <pre>.

There is a material benefit to all omissions: it makes the language simpler,
which makes teaching it simpler, and makes learning it simpler. There is a
material benefit to all omissions of presentational markup: it increases the
chances that authors will use the mindset of separation of concerns referenced
by our design principles, intentionally separating their presentation rules
from their semantic information.

Currently, this bug does not have enough information to convince me that this
element is needed.

EDITOR'S RESPONSE: This is an Editor's Response to your comment. If you are
satisfied with this response, please change the state of this bug to CLOSED. If
you have additional information and would like the editor to reconsider, please
reopen this bug. If you would like to escalate the issue to the full HTML
Working Group, please add the TrackerRequest keyword to this bug, and suggest
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yourself, if you are able to do so. For more details, see this document:

Status: Rejected
Change Description: no spec change
Rationale: See above.

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Received on Friday, 2 April 2010 06:45:51 UTC

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