footnotes

Patrick Nepper (Neppster@compuserve.com)
Sat, 15 Feb 1997 14:34:16 -0500


Date: Sat, 15 Feb 1997 14:34:16 -0500
From: Patrick Nepper <Neppster@compuserve.com>
Subject: footnotes
To: "INTERNET:www-html@w3.org" <www-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <199702151434_MC2-114E-6ABD@compuserve.com>

Charles P. Taylor wrote:

>Lately, I've been thinking about footnotes.  Has any progress 
>been made in this area? I've been reading the object spec, 
>and working with stylesheets while thinking about footnotes, 
>and I've come up with an idea.
>
>My idea, so far, is to have a link to an outside file, 
>kinda like a stylesheet file, in the header.
>
>       <LINK REL=footnotes href="footnotes.html">
>
>The idea is that the browser downloads this file and 
>parses it, taking out everything except the footnotes.
>(how much overhead this would require, I dont' know.)
>
>Then inside the document (not the footnote file) you could 
>have FNL (foot note link) elements.  These work like OBJECT, 
>in that whatever is inside them does not show up in a browser 
>that supports footnotes.  That way you could have normal links 
>in browsers that don't support footnotes. For example:
>
>       Gillian studied hard to become proficient in HTML, but 
>       he started having weird dreams<FNL href="3" >(short bit 
>       on the <a href="footnotes.html#3" TARGET="_blank">
>       relationship between Nyarlotep, Cuthulhu, and 
>       hypertext systems</A>)</FNL>.

Basically, I think this would be a good idea, but IMHO giving a duplicate
reference to the same source (FNL href="3"   and  a
href="footnotes.html#3") is not the best solution.
The browser would have to check all anchors within the opening and closing
"FNL"-Tag in order not display a specified part of a text as a link AND as
a footnote when the HREF attribute of the anchor tag points to the same
footnote-text. Or do you want to deny all A-Tags within a "FNL"-area?

My suggestion for  cross-browser compatibility would be an additional
FOOTNOTE attribute included within the Anchor Tag.
Non-HTML 3.0 browsers would display the specified text as a link, whereas
HTML 3.0-enabled browsers would give the user the advantages of  special
footnote-display.

>In a footnote-empowered browser, this would show up as
>
>       Gillian studied hard to become proficient in HTML, but 
>       he started having weird dreams3.
>
>The "3" would be superscript, or however footnotes are 
>displayed in other systems, and otherwise displayed as 
>a link.
>
>In a non-footnote-empowered browser, this would show up as 
>it would without the <FNL> element.
>
>In the footnote file (an otherwise normal HTML file) you 
>might have something like this:
>
>       <P><A name="3"><FN id="3">It is well known, that Cuthulhu, 
>       as well as being a dark sorceror, is/was also a very gifted
>       programmer, his dealings with Nyarlotep show that he was 
>       comfortable with multi-dimensional thought, and probably 
>       wrote books of magic in hypertext.</FN></A></P>
>

AFAIK both ID and NAME do the same job. It is just that the ID attribute
(HTML 3.x) was ment to replace the NAME attribute (HTML 1.x, 2.x) and to be
used with body elements and not text areas.
So, again this would mean a duplicate definition. The same keyword "3"
would be used two times in the same document. INMHO this is not the best
solution and some clients might even have problems with a duplicate
definition.
My idea (see above) would solve this problem.



>Yes, it's FN, he's back and he's mad :) Was FN a block 
>element? If so, perhaps we could use <br>s instead of 
><P>'s to separate the footnotes, but this is just a 
>small detail.
>
>Clicking on the three (yeah, I know, I'm using browser-
>specific language) would: 
>       1) bring up a small window that contained the above 
>paragraph, in a footnote-enabled browser
>       2) bring up a large window in a frames enabled browser
>       3) would just go to the footnote page in a non-footnote, 
>non-frames-enabled browser.  
>
>How's that for cross-browser compatibility?


If my solution is not correct, please tell me -  I am always here to learn.

Have a nice day,


Patrick Nepper
Web @ccess GbR, Germany
webaccess@compuserve.com
http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/webaccess
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