Sunil Mishra (
Sun, 21 Jul 1996 14:11:13 -0400 (EDT)

Date: Sun, 21 Jul 1996 14:11:13 -0400 (EDT)
Message-Id: <>
From: Sunil Mishra <>
In-reply-to: <>
Subject: Re: PLAINTEXT tag

As far as my rather limited understanding goes, the primary reason for not
having plaintext is that it is completely out of sync with SGML rules. And
simply undeprecating it and adding </plaintext> is unlikely to have much of
an effect on Netscape.

As for displaying HTML, this is what I would do:
1. Construct a source file that contains demonstration HTML. You might use
   comments for demarcating the extent of the HTML. Or perhaps just use the
   <plaintext> </plaintext> pair :-)
2. Write a simple script to do replacement of <, > and & within such a
   demarcation. It should be fairly simple to handle with perl, though I
   have no clue what the script would look like.
3. Run a periodic task that checks if the source file has been modified,
   and updates the HTML file if needed.

This would work great if you have a lot of such documents to deal with. If
you don't, you might just consider doing the generation-from-source part by


\\ There appears to be no consistency among browsers in the implementation of
\\ the PLAINTEXT tag.  Furthermore, it appears to now be on the "deprecated"
\\ tag list.  Please consider the following comments regarding this tag:
\\ 1.	If all that <PLAINTEXT> does is turn off HTML parsing,  without there
\\ being any way to turn parsing back on, the tag deserves to be deprecated
\\ because of its very limited usefulness.
\\ 2.	On the other hand, <PLAINTEXT>  coupled with </PLAINTEXT> is very
\\ useful:  I can easily demonstrate a piece of HTML code and show its
\\ rendering;  all I have to do is write the code once, and then copy it
\\ between <PLAINTEXT> and </PLAINTEXT> to demonstrate it.  
\\ 	I realize I can achieve the HTML demonstration by using <PRE> and
\\ replacing every angle bracket in the HTML segment by its element code, but
\\ this is  tedious and prone to typos and transcription errors and probably
\\ leads to display code and demonstration code that are out of sync after
\\ only a few changes.  (Shades of trying to keep a program and its flowchart
\\ consistent.)
\\ 3.  	Microsoft's Internet Explorer and possibly some other browsers
\\ implement the </PLAINTEXT>  tag already. Netscape Navigator does not.  If I
\\ want some measure of compatibility I cannot use <PLAINTEXT> at all.  It
\\ will probaly take some action on your part to goad Netscape into
\\ implementing a tag that was not invented by them.
\\ Please un-deprecate <PLAINTEXT> and couple it with </PLAINTEXT> or, if for
\\ some reason the name PLAINTEXT must die, invent a new tag which allows me
\\ to turn HTML parsing off and back on, anywhere in the BODY including inside
\\ a table cell, etc.
\\ I would be interested in hearing your reasoning on this topic.