Re: Wish List for New Spec

Walter Ian Kaye (
Tue, 2 Jan 1996 08:13:29 -0800

Message-Id: <v02120d00ad0f05d0a21a@[]>
Date: Tue, 2 Jan 1996 08:13:29 -0800
From: (Walter Ian Kaye)
Subject: Re: Wish List for New Spec

At 9:07a 01/02/96, Scott E. Preece wrote:
>   From: (David Mandl)
>|   But in this case, the "<q lang=fr>" is an exact synonym for "<<", isn't it?
>|   It doesn't buy you anything.  I thought the original intention of <q> was
>|   to make documents language-independent, which is something that can't be
>|   conveyed with entities alone.  What your example says is "Substitute French
>|   quotation marks for the <q lang=fr>."  OK, so why not just type in the
>|   French quotation marks yourself?  The only advantage I can see is that if
>|   there's some client or computer that can't display those actual characters,
>|   it can substitute other ones.  But why can't it substitute another
>|   character for the _entity_?
>The point is that the quoted material is no longer language-independent,
>the quoter has indicated that it is to be used in a particular way.
>This is *not* the same as just inserting the appropriate quotation
>characters, since the use of markup, rather than hard coded characters,
>still allows the UA to present the typographically best form of quoting
>it can, for the indicated context.  For French this might make no
>difference (I don't know whether the '<<' is actually typeset as two
>less-than signs or is a special character),

It is a special character, and those "guille" characters exist in
Macintosh, Windows, and DOS character sets. Probably most other 8-bit
charsets too...

>but for an English quotation
>in a French document it would allow the US to present real quotation
>marks or ASCII double quotes, depending on its abilities.
>The other reason for using the Q element, instead of entities, is that
>it allows USa to know that the material is a quotation.  This would
>allow a tool to, for instance, search only quoted material, exclude
>quoted material from a concordance, or present quotations in more styled
>ways than just changing the quote ccharacters (setting them in another
>font, for instance, or on a different background, or as sidebars, or
>using different rules to decide when to blockquote and when to inline

Ah, but you could still do &guillemotleft;<SPAN CLASS="quote">The quotation
here</SPAN>&guillemotright; and achieve the same effect. (I'm guessing at
the entity names.)


    Walter Ian Kaye <>     Programmer - Excel, AppleScript,
          Mountain View, CA                         ProTERM, FoxPro, HTML     Musician - Guitarist, Songwriter