Re: Indented text

Abigail (
Thu, 14 Mar 1996 01:48:40 +0100 (MET)

From: Abigail <>
Message-Id: <>
Subject: Re: Indented text
To: (John Hicks)
Date: Thu, 14 Mar 1996 01:48:40 +0100 (MET)
In-Reply-To: <> from "John Hicks" at Mar 13, 96 06:50:49 pm

You, John Hicks wrote:
++ Hi All,
++         I am fairly new to the list and have been sclurking (this is a mix
++ between scanning and lurking :).  I was directed to this list because I was
++ interested in a method of indentation of text.

Hmmm. HTML is a device independent language of marking up a document.
What does an <indent> tag do on a speech device? A search engine?
Does your message change because it is indented? If not, then there's
no reason to add it to HTML. If it is, you need another language.

++         From what I have found so far, I have not seen what I was looking
++ for.  I had something in mind like this :
++ Either a new tag  <INDENT first=  left=  right=  ></INDENT>
++ That would allow for indents ...
++ Or even adding it to one of the othe tags like the <div> or <p> 
++ I wanted it to be something along these lines
++ -----------------------
++ When used alone
++ some text
++ multiple lines of it perhaps
++ <P>
++ some more text
++ that it would by default indent the first line of each paragraph about the
++ distance of what a <LI> is indented when inside a list, but ofcourse, there
++ would be no bullet.

Which HTML specification talks about <li> indents? You mean, a robot
can't use <li>'s because it doesn't know what indenting is? Speech
device are broken due to not knowing indents? Many browser _may_
indent <li>'s, it's not a rule.

++ if any of the values are set, they would work this way
++ first=
++ by default it would be the same as the indent space of the <li> inside of a
++ list, but could be set to zero for no first line indent if so desired.  I
++ would also thing that it should be able to have a set value or a % value.
++ left=
++ This would indent all lines after the first line in from the left to the set
++ distance and should include set values or % values.  It also should include
++ a value of left=first so that it would indent the same as the first line
++ whatever that setting is.
++ right=
++ This would indent all lines after the first line in from the right to the
++ set distance and should include set values or % values.
++ --------------
++ This type of a tag, although some may argue that it has do do with layout
++ not content, would do far more that the <blockquote> does since you could
++ left or right weight a group of text.

But <blockquote> doesn't indent!! It marks its content as being a
(large) quote. Some browsers might show it indented (lack of inspiration?)
others might use large quotes, a different font, use a green background,
switch to monospaced font, or change the voice. <blockquote> doesn't
mean indent.

++ It would also allow for things like NOT indenting the first line, but
++ indenting all the rest.
++ Sure, some of this could be done with tables, but why should they have to
++ be, when a table is more cumbersome than a tag as simple as this one.
++ I know that many are of the idea that we should be only concerned witrh
++ content and not layout, while others are deep into "visual asthetics" and
++ less on content.  However, if content and not appearance is the driving
++ force behind the web, then why did the great growth beging only after
++ "graphical browsers" came to the fore.  As much as many of us may not want
++ to agree with it, the visual aspect is a growing factor of page design, and
++ there is no reason to think this trend will go away any time soon.

If visual aspect would be the important factor, people would use
PostScript, PDF, TeX, whatever. I don't think it should be a reason
to turn HTML into something already done a decade ago.

++ I also think that a tag like this is simpler to use than the "style sheet"
++ implementation.  After all, why re-invent the wheel :)

But it _is_ implemented in style sheets. Besides, I think 'p: indent = 3em;'
or whatever the syntax is, beats adding <indent> around all paragraphs.

Let's keep HTML to be HTML (a markup language), and move everything
which smells to appearance and layout to style sheets.


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