Re: OBJECT and FIG, was Take note Dan

Scott E. Preece (
Tue, 14 May 1996 09:53:44 -0500

Date: Tue, 14 May 1996 09:53:44 -0500
From: (Scott E. Preece)
Message-Id: <>
In-Reply-To: Warren Steel's message of Tue, 14 May 1996 09:05:12 -0500
Subject: Re: OBJECT and FIG, was Take note Dan

 From: Warren Steel <>

| ....  My comments were to remind readers of the continuing 
| need for a block-like image container with captions and credits,
| which would be useful to authors in almost every field.  If the
| proposed <OBJECT> element may be itself embedded in a block element
| called <FIGURE>, which allows captions and credits, then all is
| well.  I certainly acknowledge the need for a name other than <FIG> 
| for this new element.

I don't care a lot whether CAPTION and CREDIT go in a new wrapper
element or get pushed down into OBJECT, TABLE, etc.  I *do* think it's
important that a competent browser have enough information to build
useful tables of contents for readers (even though most browsers seem to
have ignored this potential enhancement to date).  Books have evolved to
typically have indexes of figures, tables, and (in some cases)
photographs. These are important both because the elements tend to
be independently useful and because readers tend to remember them
as navigational aids.

I would like a browser to be able to do as well.  So I'm
inclined to think that *either* CAPTION and CREDIT should be pushed down
into OBJECT, TABLE, and IMG, *or* the new wrapper element should have
a CLASS attribute the browser can use to categorize the thing
appropriately. This would also allow numbering them separately (if the
stylesheet specifies numbering), as is common in printed material.

I still think it's slightly more natural to add the sub-elements to the
individual elements, rather than add a wrapper, especially since TABLE
already has a CAPTION sub-element.  On the other hand, I don't know how
people would feel about adding sub-element content to IMG, and I know
people would object to adding more elements for other kinds of things,
so maybe a wrapper is best.

I would not want to see a wrapper called FIGURE, though, since figures
are just one type of thing that could be wrapped.  DocBook, for
instance, has Epigraphs, Procedures, Equations, Examples, and Screens,
which would all be naturally indexable.  Maybe INDEXABLE or ITEM, or
perhaps FORMAL (in DocBook, things with titles are Formal and things
without are Informal).

If we do this, we should drop the CAPTION sub-element from TABLE.


scott preece
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