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Re: Clarification of allowed content in <title>

From: Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 1999 15:23:25 -0500
Message-ID: <3863D63D.7C14F74A@w3.org>
To: Sean Richardson <sidr@albedo.net>
CC: www-html-editor@w3.org
Sean Richardson wrote:
> 
> Hello www-html-editor,
> 
> This is more a point for clarification than an error in the HTML 4.01
> spec, but at
> <URL:http://www.w3.org/TR/html40/struct/global.html#h-7.4.2> the comment
> "Titles may contain character entities (for accented characters, special
> characters,
> etc.), but may not contain other markup." has been misconstrued by some
> as
> allowing comments in the title as they are not specifically excluded.
> It is not necessarily apparent to the beginning reader of the spec that
> HTML commnets *are* markup; to the beginner comments may easily look
> like
> another category altogether. More experienced readers have misread the
> spec
> in the same way.
> 
> See the "HTML comments in <title> elements - valid or not?" thread at
> <URL:http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-html/1999Nov/> and the
> Mozilla bug
> report at <URL:http://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=13015> for
> background.
> 
> A related issue: I know that the spec clearly states, somewhere, that
> the DTD does not encompass the entire specification, and that in fact
> the spec includes constraints that are inexpresible in the DTD.
> I was not able to find it, easily, this evening.  The best I could find,
> under
> <URL:http://www.w3.org/TR/html40/intro/sgmltut.html#h-3.1>, was
> "Each markup language defined in SGML is called an SGML application. An
> SGML application is generally characterized by: ...
> 3. A specification that describes the semantics to be ascribed to the
> markup. This specification also imposes syntax restrictions that cannot
> be expressed within the
> DTD. ..." - which does not quite get around to saying that this applies
> to HTML.
> 
> Suggested enhancements to the specification:
> 
> 1. Change the sentence beginning "Titles may contain character entities
> (for accented characters, special characters, etc.), but may not contain
> other markup." to read
> "Titles may contain character entities (for accented characters, special
> characters,
> etc.), but may not contain comments or any other markup."  - at
> <URL:http://www.w3.org/TR/html40/struct/global.html#h-7.4.2>

Yes.
 
> 2. Add a sentence, "Comments are HTML markup." or otherwise express this
> concept at <URL:http://www.w3.org/TR/html40/intro/sgmltut.html#h-3.2.4>.
> The reference Dan Connolly used to support his assertion that comments
> are
> markup in
> <URL:http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-html/1999Nov/0024.html>,
> <URL:http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/SGML/productions.html#prod91>, is
> effectively
> unreadable (and unreachable) for the bulk of the target audience for the
> HTML 4.01 spec.

Yes.
 
> 3. Make whatever statement exists that the DTD is not the entire
> definition
> of the HTML spec more visible to those who may not heed it by repeating
> it
> at the beginning of <URL:http://www.w3.org/TR/html40/sgml/dtd.html>, and
> also
> possibly by stating it very plainly in the introductory material if it
> is
> not so already.

Yes.
 
> Change 1 would make the reality plain to those who are not going to
> read the whole spec. Change 2 would formally state what not everyone
> sees
> as obvious - that comments are markup. Change 3 would caution readers
> against an over-reliance on the DTD as a primary tool for understanding
> HTML.
> 
> I hope that these comments may be of some use.

I appreciate them greatly. Thank you,

 - Ian


-- 
Ian Jacobs (jacobs@w3.org)   http://www.w3.org/People/Jacobs
Tel/Fax:                     +1 212 684-1814
Cell:                        +1 917 450-8783
Received on Friday, 24 December 1999 15:23:44 GMT

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