Re: footnotes

James Aylett (sja20@hermes.cam.ac.uk)
Mon, 17 Feb 1997 09:25:13 +0000 (GMT)


Date: Mon, 17 Feb 1997 09:25:13 +0000 (GMT)
From: James Aylett <sja20@hermes.cam.ac.uk>
To: "INTERNET:www-html@w3.org" <www-html@w3.org>
Subject: Re: footnotes
In-Reply-To: <199702151434_MC2-114E-6ABD@compuserve.com>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.95.970217091241.25330A-100000@crystal.clare.cam.ac.uk>

I must have missed the original message ... oops!

On Sat, 15 Feb 1997, Patrick Nepper wrote:

> 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.

[loads of chopped bits about implementation like this]

I don't think this is necessary at all. There are two possibly ways
forward that strike me, neither of which need new tags, neither of which
cause significant problems:

1)	Define a style which caters for it.

This can't (as far as I know) be specified in any current stylesheet
language, but that's no reason not to look at it. You could have something
like:

In HTML footnotes <A STYLE="footnote" HREF="footnotes.html#1>1</A>

where the browser would know to render the "footnote" style as, perhaps, a
pop-up "help"-style box, or similar. A non-compliant browser would simply
show a normal hypertext link. It could be extended further:

In HTML footnotes <A STYLE="footnote" HREF="footnotes.html#1b>(see
notes)</A>

or similar (allowing the author to specify their own 'footnote' graphic,
for instance. The "footnote" style could be rendered replacing the text
with a number. In fact, using style hierarchy, a basic footnote style
could be defined, and substyles created displaying exactly how the page
author wanted. If the text in the anchor's content were replacable then
the same style could be used whether footnotes were being employed or not.

2)	Use REV/REL.

This would go something like:

In HTML footnotes <A REV="footnote" HREF="footnotes.html#1">(see
notes)</A>

with, in footnotes.html:

<A ID="1" REL="footnote" HREF="original.html">See the draft proposal
...</A>

Problems with this are that:

a)	I'm uncertain that using A in this way wouldn't break older
browsers.
b)	A can't contain other instances of A. Unless there's another
element I've missed which can take both ID and REL|REV + HREF then this is
a major problem.

Of course it wouldn't be essential to use the REL+HREF linking above to
state that this is a footnote to the document original.html; however it is
more in the spirit of using REL|REV to do so.

Even removing them (which sorts out problem a) still leaves problem b.
Having thought these ideas through while writing this email I infinitely
prefer the first, style-based, solution.

Okay, comments? What have I overlooked? :-)

James

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