Re: No generalized empty element in HTML

E. Stephen Mack (
Fri, 01 Aug 1997 19:08:18 -0700

Message-Id: <>
Date: Fri, 01 Aug 1997 19:08:18 -0700
From: "E. Stephen Mack" <>
Subject: Re: No generalized empty element in HTML
In-Reply-To: <>

Lars Eighner ( wrote:

> HTML 4 contains a generalized block element (<DIV>)
> and a generalised inline element (<SPAN>) but seems
> to lack a generalized empty element.

I think this an excellent point.  A current discussion
along similar lines in www-style led to this comment
by David Perrell:

> From: "David Perrell" <>
> Subject: Re: <font> vs. CSS: no contest
> Date: Fri, 1 Aug 1997 16:50:47 -0700

>> A CSS1 BASEFONT declaration in IE3.02 has no effect...

> Sorry, this is not true of IE3.02. BASEFONT can be declared in the
> stylesheet, and the stylesheet setting goes into effect when the
> BASEFONT is encountered, and most stylesheet settings override inline
> settings. I was able to apply classes with color and font-family, but
> inheritance of relative font-size is screwed up, as it seems to be
> relative to the inline declaration rather the CSS declaration.

> BASEFONT could be a handy way to change the look of sections without
> encompassing them in a DIV element.

> Ah, but BASEFONT is deprecated, so no...

Perhaps BASEFONT could be revived as a place for the things
that Lars Eighner mentions, such as style sheet declarations
and target for links (using <BASEFONT ID="foo1">).

That would put BASEFONT as a generalized element with
no particular meaning, except for its deprecated
FONT, SIZE and COLOR attributes.  Future versions of
HTML could keep DIV, SPAN, and BASEFONT as generalized
elements with no specific purpose other than for
scripts, styles, and targetting.
E. Stephen Mack <>