Re: <p> is a container (was: When to use <p></p>)

BearHeart/Bill Weinman (
Tue, 19 Dec 1995 00:06:37 -0600

Date: Tue, 19 Dec 1995 00:06:37 -0600
Message-Id: <>
From: BearHeart/Bill Weinman <>
Subject: Re: <p> is a container (was: When to use <p></p>)

At 09:30 pm 12/18/95 TZ, Michael Godsey wrote:
>|    Actually, according to the DTD, <P> is a container--it contains text.
>| The terminating </P> is optional, but in HTML 3 it will be more useful.
>Bummer.  I was afraid I mis-spoke.  Problem here stems from over use of 
>the word "container".  I tend to like to think of "container" as a 
>bracket (start/end) surrounding an object, and tend to discuss it as such.

>Oh well, at least the gist of what I said still holds true!  ;-)

   Actually, your understanding of a container is correct and <p> 
fits that. Your confusion may be more related to the implementation 
of containers in HTML. 

   The terminator is optional on all containers in situations where 
the termination can be infered. There are many obvious cases where 
unterminated containers will create bad results, like <a> and <hn>; 
and some others where it's just plain bad practice, like <ol> and 
<form>. But a browser shouldn't die because of it, and you can't go 
to jail for it. (Although I have written my congressman about <blink>!)

   I wouldn't make a big deal out of this, except that your statements, 
if left uncorrected, could create some real misunderstandings about 
containers in HTML. 

   If you still have questions about this, feel free to post them 
as such. But do be careful about posting assertions and corrections 
to other people's statements before being sure of your facts. 

 * BearHeart / Bill Weinman 
 * *            * *
 * Author of The CGI Book:    * *
 * Trust everyone, but brand your cattle.