W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > April to June 2001

Re: <PRE> tag

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn@reef.com>
Date: Tue, 10 Apr 2001 09:40:40 -0700
Message-Id: <>
To: <laura.dangelo@hrdc-drhc.gc.ca>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
At 09:19 AM 4/10/2001, laura.dangelo@hrdc-drhc.gc.ca wrote:
>Our cascading style sheets are still under development as we have to meet
>requirements set  by another department of the Canadian Government.  As they
>are still setting the standards that we have to comply with...we are awaiting
>their regulations that we have to meet....It's coming but...for now I am
>trying to at least make these pages accessible with what I have to work with.

Ahh, bureaucracy!  Never let a good technical solution get in the way
of red tape!

>I got the idea of using the <pre> tag from my U.S. Social Security Admin.
>(our U.S. equivalent)
>see example http://www.ssa.gov/international/Agreement_Texts/grk_agt.html

Well, you can't trust the Social Security Administration to know what
they are doing with web design.  Trust me and Charles instead when
we talk about HTML -- the U.S. government is rarely a good example. :)

>As you can see on our site legal agreements of this nature have a lot of
>clauses that have to be indented to be similar in format to the actual

There's no reason you can't do this with CSS, BTW.

There's no "indent" tag in HTML.  Never has been, likely never will

Note that using <blockquote> would likely be bad here, from a legal
standpoint.  Why?  Because you would be specifically identifying
certain bits of your text as "quoted from somewhere else" (since
that is what <blockquote> does) and other bits as not.  This could
lead to more confusion than simply using CSS to format the page.

>An good example of the type of formatting for our agreements can be found at:
>But of course we have to have the equivalent in HTML as well.

Why?  What's the purpose?

That's where you need to start -- with what the purpose is.  Is
the purpose to "be read" by someone, or is it "to have pixel-perfect
formatting" or "to preserve indentation" or what?  If you have a
legal obligation to have things formatted in a certain manner, what
-exactly- are those obligations and how restrictive are they?  For
example, do they mandate that ALL representations must appear in
a certain formatting manner?  Or that only copies which are
formatted in this manner are "legal"?

What I'm getting at is that you could create "legal copies" by
putting up a PDF and a <pre> version, and then make actual
"human usable copies" which use more sensible HTML.

Really, though, what you need to is to get the people who are
requiring "legal copies" to put pressure on the people who are
"making rules for using CSS" (what a bizarre thing to do!) and
have them fight it out.


Kynn Bartlett <kynn@reef.com>
Technical Developer Liaison
Reef North America
Tel +1 949-567-7006
Received on Tuesday, 10 April 2001 12:36:38 UTC

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