Re: HTML 3.2: PRE should not exclude IMG

Benjamin Franz (snowhare@netimages.com)
Mon, 3 Jun 1996 08:10:04 -0700 (PDT)


Date: Mon, 3 Jun 1996 08:10:04 -0700 (PDT)
From: Benjamin Franz <snowhare@netimages.com>
To: Abigail <abigail@mars.ic.iaf.nl>
Cc: www-html@w3.org
Subject: Re: HTML 3.2: PRE should not exclude IMG
In-Reply-To: <31B2E31F.7445BEF9@mars.ic.iaf.nl>
Message-Id: <Pine.LNX.3.93.960603073015.2504A-100000@ns.viet.net>

On Mon, 3 Jun 1996, Abigail wrote:

> Benjamin Franz wrote:
> > 
> [ About allowing <ING> inside <PRE> ]
> 
> > Also the 'exception' you claim here is one that has precisely defined
> > behaviour in all the browsers I know of and your objection that 'in
> > general images are not the same size' is irrelevant because page designers
> > who are exploiting this behavior don't have images that 'just happen' to
> > be the exact same size: They done it on purpose.
> 
> Yes, but you cannot put that in a DTD. If you allow <IMG> inside
> <PRE>, than you allow *any* image inside <PRE>, whether it makes
> sense or not. 

Sure. And I can put things in a <p> that make no sense either (say a
<strong></strong> wrapped around alternate letters for the whole
paragraph). Abuse does not invalidate use.

> 
> > The whole issue is rapidly becoming irrelevant anyway since the use of
> > images in PRE is a hack to work around the lack of deployed tables - a
> > situation that has all but disappeared now as even AOL is rolling out a
> > table capable browser - leaving Lynx as the only browser with any
> > significant share that _cannot_ do tables. Tables are *much* superior
> > in achieving page layout control in general.
> 
> TeX and PostScript are even better.
> 

*No* *they* *aren't*. I really wish people who are used to having all the
toys on their desktop would stop for a moment and realize that they are in
a tiny minority. It is this kind of thinking that resulted in content
negotiation being mis-implemented in Apache to serve up the *highest*
quality available object when no accepts information is available - when
it is almost always the *worst* possible choice for that situation. As a
direct result I can't use Apache's content negotiation until I re-write
the 'tie breaking' code to let me specify what I want to serve up when the
browser tells me nothing useful (I did this once as a fast hack - but it
got wiped out when another admin downloaded a newer version of Apache on
top of the old one. Sigh. Teach me not save my changes somewhere
permanent).

I would use inline gifs for page markup long before I would use either TeX
or PostScript - because I want to actually reach most people. GIFs will
reach most people. PostScript won't and TeX most certainly will not. And
the vast majority of people publishing on the web agree with me judging by
the actual use of images on pages. HTML *can't* do what they want and
alternatives such as PostScript and TeX are not widely viewable. So they
sacrifice all semantics usable by automation tools so they can reach their
*primary* audience:  Sighted people with graphical browsers. 

Don't fool yourselves:  Sighted people with graphical browsers are and
will remain the target audience for 99% of web pages. Page authors will
not consciously try to obstruct non-sighted people or those using
non-graphical browsers, but the vast majority of page authors are simply
not even aware of the impact of their designs on non-sighted or
non-graphical browsers. Most are not even aware of how much a display
can change between different graphical browsers or on different screen
sizes. I recently had to sooth the feathers of a client who decided to
check out their new site using AOLs old browser. Not surprisingly it
looked pretty funky (it looks better in Lynx than with AOLs browser -
the ALTs without tables are better than the images without tables. It is 
still usable on either - just not pretty on AOL).

-- 
Benjamin Franz