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Re: To be or not to be...an alt tag, that is the question

From: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Date: Wed, 3 Dec 2003 07:59:12 +0000 (GMT)
Message-Id: <200312030759.hB37xCm01413@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

> What standard refers to 79 characters.

It dates back to the days when you didn't need to have legal documents
for everything as users and software developers understood certain
things without being told.

The main standards issue is that a lot of GUI email programs don't make
it clear that when they wrap a displayed line it is an error recovery
behaviour, not a means to produce reflowable paragraphs (I suspect the
authors of such programs don't know that either).  In particular,
= at the end of a MIME quoted-printable encoded line means append the
next line without starting a newline; it is not a soft newline.

For non quoted-printable material, whilst not a standard, the limit
is implicit in the use of = to break up long lines at that sort of
length, and is, I think, explained in the rationale for that standard.

The actual reccommended length, taken from USENET guideline documents for
new users (try news:news.announce.newusers), is more like 73 characters,
which allows for a few generations of quoting with prefixed "> ". but
GUI email programs tend to result in non-interleaved responses, anyway.

(When people write their paragraphs all on one line, you sill sometimes
find that I re-wrap them and use a different prefix character after
the arbitrary breaks in the line that I have introduced.)
Received on Wednesday, 3 December 2003 02:59:14 UTC

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