Re: HTML 3.2: TEXTFLOW is confusing

Joe English (
Fri, 31 May 1996 11:34:31 PDT

Message-Id: <>
Subject: Re: HTML 3.2: TEXTFLOW is confusing 
In-Reply-To: <> 
Date: Fri, 31 May 1996 11:34:31 PDT
From: Joe English <>

Gerald Oskoboiny <> wrote:
> The APPLET declaration in this DTD requires some kind of content between
> the opening and closing APPLET tags, or, if there's no content, you have
> to explicitly include the dummy TEXTFLOW element, like this:
>     <applet code=foo.class width=100 height=100>
>       <textflow> </textflow>
>     </applet>
> [...]
> I think applets with no content may be quite common -- if the applet is
> just eye candy, it seems appropriate to leave the applet's content empty
> (as using ALT="" is appropriate for eye-candy images.) I'm not looking
> forward to trying to explain to people why TEXTFLOW is necessary...

The current scheme strikes me as highly unintuitive too.
The rules seem to be:

    * Browsers that can handle an APPLET element
      are supposed to ignore the content of the APPLET element;

    * The only time authors need to include start- and
      end-tags for the TEXTFLOW element is when they
      don't want to include a TEXTFLOW element.

> Are there any other SGML hacks that can be used to make <TEXTFLOW>
> unnecessary for empty APPLETs?

[ I don't think a "hack" is what is needed here. ]

> If it's not possible to get around this some other way, is there a better
> name than TEXTFLOW for this dummy element? (like "NOAPPLET" or something?)

Yes, an optional "NOAPPLET" or "ALTERNATE" element (with required 
start- and end-tags) would have made more sense.  That wouldn't 
be compatible with current practice, though... 

--Joe English