Re: Render EM as underline [was: deprecated tags in Wilbur & Cougar]

Abigail (
Thu, 01 Aug 1996 11:54:47 +0100

Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 01 Aug 1996 11:54:47 +0100
From: Abigail <>
Subject: Re: Render EM as underline [was: deprecated tags in Wilbur & Cougar]

Terje Norderhaug wrote:
> At 3:44 PM 7/31/96, Charles Peyton Taylor wrote:
> >>>> Arne Knudson <> 07/31/96 10:36am
> >>>
> >> I fail to see that reasoning behind re-incorporating the deprecated font
> >> tags, like <U>, back into the DTDs. I thought that way back during the
> >> HTML 2.0 draft discussions, it was decided that <U> was rather evil,
> >> because somany browsers used underline to represent links.
> >
> >That's a browser-implementation problem.  I've been using
> ><U>, and in MSIE and Mosaic it improves the appearance of
> >documents.
> >
> >Only using bold and italics gets less meaningful (because
> >the appearance is used for EM and STRONG) and downright
> >boring.
> I suggest to resolve the issue by that the guidelines for how a browser
> should render the EM element is changed from advising italics to advising
> that the EM is rendered with underline.

Why? <em> should *emphasize* the text. That can be done by displaying it
in italics if the surrounding text is roman, or in roman if the surrounding
text is in italics. Or by underlining it. Or by using a different colour.
It's a browser issue, and how it is rendered should be up to a browser.

I wouldn't mind though if a guideline would say that <EM> inside another <EM>
preferably should be displayed other than text inside one <EM>. For instance:
This is roman <EM> This is italics <EM> And this is sans-serif </EM>
Italics again </EM> And back to roman.

But that might be too difficult for tag soup browsers which use binary flags.

> Italics fonts doesn't display very well on screen anyway, and makes text
> harder to read (if readbable at all). Rendering EM with italics also mixes

No. Italic fonts don't display very well on *your* screen, or you just don't
like it. Nothing wrong with that. And that is the nice thing about HTML, noone
forces you to have <EM> displayed as italics. If you think italics don't look
good on your screen, configure your browser to use something else. Bold, underlined,
green, blinking, chocolate taste, whatever. Ok, maybe you can't get a browser
which allows you to do so, but that means something in the browserworld should
change, not HTML.

> with the common rendering of citations. By not providing U but rather
> suggest underline for EM, it would invite more people to use the logical EM
> element with the associated long term advantages.

And underline mixes with a common rendering of links. Personally, I think 
underlining looks horrible, and I would prefer using a browser which displays
EM otherwise. I don't mind various elements get rendered the same. The context
usually gives enough clues to distinguish between <CITE> This is the title of
a book </CITE> and This <EM> word </EM> is important. And if not, well, I should
be able to reconfigure my browser in a flash. (Yeah, if only that was possible)

There is so much which can be done about browsers other than inventing new
tags randomly.