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

James Aylett (
Thu, 1 Aug 1996 15:14:20 +0100 (BST)

Date: Thu, 1 Aug 1996 15:14:20 +0100 (BST)
From: James Aylett <>
To: MegaZone <>
Subject: Re: Render EM as underline [was: deprecated tags in Wilbur & Cougar] (fwd)
In-Reply-To: <>
Message-ID: <>

On Wed, 31 Jul 1996, MegaZone wrote:

> Once upon a time Terje Norderhaug shaped the electrons to say...
> >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.
> Never happen.  People expect EM to be italics in all major browsers, I
> know I would not be alone it screaming my objections if that were even 
> considered.  Besides, people would just start using <I> if that change
> happened.

But why? If italics is what they desire then they should be using <I>. If
they instead want a platform-independent emphasis they should be using
<EM>. Merely because most visual browsers display them as the same doesn't
mean they are the same by a long way.

> >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
> Looks lovely on my system, so speak for yourself.

I would say that it probably looks awful on most people's browsers, but
hey that's probably because I'm reduce to using only 15 inch monitors here
whilst still trying to have a usable desktop area. At that resolution
non-antialiased italics is unread (unless you set for super-huge text
sizes, in which case you defeat the object of having a high resolution).

> >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.
> For legal documents you *MUST* have underlining, no ambiguity.  They need
> a *physical* markup, NOT a *logical* markup that may change on the whim of
> a browser manufactuer.

Hmm. Yes, legal documents require underlining. Yes, this can be done using
<U>. However legal documents require and awful lot of very strict rules
about layout - this is stylesheet business, or you will spend _ages_
getting it right. Also, it strikes me that the times when you need a
document to be displayed as legal documents is when they are printed -
enter style sheets again (or, better, enter content negotiation so that
printer-dead browsers like Netscape don't have to worry about it).


  James Aylett - Crystal Services ( BBS, Ftp and Web
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