Re: HTML 3.2 PR color value syntax

Peter Flynn (
11 Nov 1996 23:13:05 +0000 (GMT)

Date: 11 Nov 1996 23:13:05 +0000 (GMT)
From: Peter Flynn <>
Subject: Re: HTML 3.2 PR color value syntax
In-reply-to: <> (
Message-id: <>

   As a practicing Web designer I suggest making the following
   modifications to the HTML 3.2 color value syntax.

HTML 3.2 defines COLOR as CDATA, so you can put pretty much anything
you like in there. What you're asking for is a recommendation on
what browsers should support in there.

	   Currently, color values in HTML are denoted as hexidecimal
   triplets. Here are the negative aspects of this syntax:

	   * This format does not reflect current practice.

I think you'll find a lot of pages which use #rrggbb syntax. But in
general you're right that most designers use graphical pickers and
probably never notice the values until they need to find the Pantone
reference value.

	   * Popular graphics tools do not support this format.

That's simply not true.

	     software of choice. All of the Windows-based color pickers I
	     have used can specify colors as RGB triplets with the values
	     ranging from 0 to 255. One common Macintosh color picker

But that's exactly what the #rrggbb specification is. Just that it's
in hex because that gives a convenient fixed-length (2I3) format for
programmers. I can well understand that decimal-to-hex conversion is a
pain for the designer, though. Decimal would make more sense.

   I have been asking for this change publically ever since Netscape
   implemented the syntax. 

I must have missed your posts on the html-wg mailing list over the
last two years. 

	   <BODY BGCOLOR="255,255,255"> (range 0-255)

This seems very sensible.

	   <BODY BGCOLOR="100%,100%,100%"> (range 0%-100%)

For this you'd need to specify what the percentages are, hue or
saturation, wouldn't you?

   If HTML were not written and read by people, there would be no
   need for this change. Unfortunately, most if not all serious Web designers
   find it necessary to read and write HTML to achieve exactly the right

Please don't blame HTML for the deficiencies of the browsers. No
change is needed to the HTML 3.2 DTD to achieve this: it;s the browser
makers who need to implement it.