Re: DIV/CLASS

Joe English (joe@trystero.art.com)
Tue, 14 May 1996 19:51:07 PDT


Message-Id: <9605150251.AA07794@trystero.art.com>
To: www-html@w3.org
Subject: Re: DIV/CLASS
In-Reply-To: <199605142334.QAA00467@web1.calweb.com>
Date: Tue, 14 May 1996 19:51:07 PDT
From: Joe English <joe@trystero.art.com>


Lee Daniel Crocker <lcrocker@calweb.com> wrote:

[... many things with which I agree _wholeheartedly_, and: ]

> If 3.2 were really just an encoding of current practice,
> then the DTD would have disallowed SHORTTAG.  Allowing it
> when nobody supports it makes validation meaningless, [...]


Actually, SHORTTAG is determined by the SGML declaration, not the DTD.
Since the Wilbur specification neglects to include an SGML declaration,
it's difficult to determine whether HTML 3.2 allows the SHORTTAG
feature or not.

However, since 'SHORTTAG YES' was specified in RFC 1866 only in order
to support omitted attribute name minimization, which in turn was only
necessary for backwards compatibility with HTML 1 (specifically, the
use of <DL COMPACT> instead of <DL COMPACT="COMPACT">, et cetera),
and since all other forms of SHORTTAG minimization were explicitly
discouraged by application convention, it should be safe to specify:

	SHORTTAG NO

in whatever SGML declaration you end up using for your HTML 3.2 documents.

To be on the safe side, you should first check and make sure
that the current versions of Netscape and MSIE do in fact
recognize the _un_minimized syntax for the following cases:

	<DL COMPACT="COMPACT">		-- ditto for OL, UL, DIR, and MENU --
	<IMG ISMAP="ISMAP">
	<HR NOSHADE="NOSHADE">
	<INPUT CHECKED="CHECKED">
	<SELECT MULTIPLE="MULTIPLE">
	<OPTION SELECTED="SELECTED">
	<TH NOWRAP="NOWRAP">

and any others that I've missed.

Alternately, you could use the RFC1866 SGML declaration and validate
with SP, using:

	nsgmls -wmin-tag html.decl yourfile.html

This will warn about unclosed, empty, and NET-enabling/null tags
(i.e., all of the undesired SHORTTAG features) while allowing attribute
name minimization (the only reason SHORTTAG YES was needed to begin
with).  If you do this you'll probably still need weblint, since most
browsers still don't get attribute name minimization right for things like
<P CENTER> as shorthand for <P ALIGN="CENTER">, and SP won't catch those.

(To be *really* pedantic, if you use the IETF SGML declaration then
strictly speaking you should also change the last line:

	APPINFO "SDA"

to
	APPINFO NONE

since HTML 3.2 is not SDA-enabled.)



--Joe English

  joe@art.com


> With all of the noise and religious bickering here lately,
> I'm generally grateful that the W3 bigwigs have stayed above
> the fray for the most part, but the statement above honestly
> frightens me.  I'm not such a pedant that I care about <font>
> or <center>; let the folks use it, so long as I can write
> what I need to.  But the statement above from someone as high
> up in the scheme of things as Raggett makes me question if
> W3 truly understands the needs of HTML users outside of
> browsers or even the Web--or whether they care.
>
> "The state of HTML" is not just "what browsers use".  Search
> engines and conversion tools and internal documentation all
> need the simple, basic, compatible, frozen, everybody-agrees
> feature of <DIV CLASS="">.  I have heard not one single
> objection to it.  Everybody knows what it does, it won't
> conflict with anything in the works, and I need it today.
> So what if the big two don't happen to use it?  Just do it.
> Hell, even the big two plan to support it.  So what possible
> reason is there for excluding it?  None.  Just do it!