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Re: <PRE> tag

From: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Date: Tue, 10 Apr 2001 23:59:38 +0100 (BST)
Message-Id: <200104102259.f3AMxct13840@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
> 
> Does anyone know of any accessibility issues with the <PRE> tag?

It doesn't work on non-visual browsers!
 
> We have some International Pension Agreements that are next to impossible to 
> format  without using the <blockquote> tag and since we can not use 
> <blockquote> for formatting text, I am investigating other alternatives.

I think you have failed to understand the reason why you are not allowed to
use blockquote, and are just avoiding it because of what you see as a
bureaucratic rule.

Whilst I've not looked at the document in question, many legal documents
are actually very good fits for HTML 2.0.  You can get the occasional 
upset and artefact, but something pretty close to the deep meaning can
normally be encoded into the HTML and formatted in a way that is pretty
much unambiguous.

E.g. This is a very quick transcription of part of the articles of
association (US = bye-laws?) of the company for the flats (US =
condominium?) where I live, and which I did a few years ago:

  37.
     * (1) The office of a member of the Council shall be vacated-
          + (A) If a receiving order is made against him or he makes any
            arrangement or composition with his creditors.

The paragraph number on a line of its own (full CSS2 would provide a way
round this) is not pretty but doesn't I think cause any confusion, and
the * and + are artefacts (pure CSS2 could auto-number, but at the cost
of backward compatibility; CSS2 could also suppress the bullets).
For ease of copying into this message, I used Lynx, but Netscape 4
indents it in the same sort of way, but uses a filled circle for *
and an open one for +.

This was generated by:

  <p>37.<ul><li>(1) The office of a member of the Council shall be vacated-

  <ul>
  <li>(A)  If a receiving order is made against him or he makes any arrangement
  or composition with his creditors.

which, I believe, is a pretty accurate representation of the true 
structure, and is, I think HTML version 1.

The only place where I was naughty on this document was the representation
of the signatures and names at the bottom.  I suspect you may not have this
problem.

If you are still proposing to use <pre>...</pre>, you should see whether
there were any useful hypertext links in the document.  If there are no
essential links, plain text is a more accessible format than HTML
consisting of a single PRE element.
Received on Tuesday, 10 April 2001 19:02:27 GMT

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