Re: assorted HTML and SGML questions

lilley (lilley@afs.mcc.ac.uk)
Mon, 20 Nov 1995 13:00:10 +0000 (GMT)


From: lilley <lilley@afs.mcc.ac.uk>
Message-Id: <1732.9511201300@afs.mcc.ac.uk>
Subject: Re: assorted HTML and SGML questions
To: jbw@cs.bu.edu (Joe Wells)
Date: Mon, 20 Nov 1995 13:00:10 +0000 (GMT)
Cc: www-html@w3.org
In-Reply-To: <199511190623.BAA16340@csb.bu.edu> from "Joe Wells" at Nov 19, 95 01:23:22 am

Joe Wells said:

> This is what I mean, except that it more commonly takes one of these
> forms:
> 
>   <p><p><p><p>
> 
>   <p><hr>
> 
>   <p><ul><li>text text<p><li>more text</ul>

Well firstly, the original (CERN, TimBL) description of <P> referred to 
it as a paragraph separator, and a lot of net.mythos has grown up in 
the interim that promulgates this view.

Also, browsers don't complain much about extra <p> elements, so beginners put 
them in "for luck" in all sorts of places:

  text text text
  
  <p>
  
  <h2>subheading</h2>
  
On being asked why they put in the <p>, they will typically say "because 
I had finished the paragraph" or "to make the subheading start on a new 
line" (or, more commonly "dunno").On being asked to remove it, for example
bon being told the <h2> will do that anyway,  they will typically say 
"why? it doesn't seem to hurt?"

The other reason you will see spurious <p> is pages which use Netscape 
extensions, in particular left or right aligned images. Throwing in a 
couple of <p>s adds enough vertical space (in their browser with their 
fonts and window size) to make the next bit of text start under the 
image instead of alongside it ;-(

A third reason is that some browsers - Netscape 1.1N for X being one 
example that springs to mind - give different presentation depending 
on the presence or absence of omissible tags. For example;

  <p>stuff <hr>
  <p>stuff </p><hr>

The second example is more widely spaced, although both give the same 
parse tree.

-- 
Chris Lilley, Technical Author and JISC representative to W3C 
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