footnotes

Charles Peyton Taylor (ctaylor@wposmtp.nps.navy.mil)
Wed, 19 Feb 1997 10:50:32 -0800


Message-Id: <s30ad7e5.087@wposmtp.nps.navy.mil>
Date: Wed, 19 Feb 1997 10:50:32 -0800
From: Charles Peyton Taylor <ctaylor@wposmtp.nps.navy.mil>
To: www-html@w3.org
Subject:  footnotes

I didn't get a copy of this, (and I usually do get copies 
of mail sent to this list,) so I'm resending this email. 
Apologies in advance to any who may have received this 
twice.



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>.

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>

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 "3" (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?


C  h a r l e s    P e y t o n   T a y l o r         ctaylor@nps.navy.mil
The opinions and views expressed are my own and do not reflect those of 
the Naval PostGraduate School 

                       "Dreams are like water, colorless, and dangerous"

                   http://web.nps.navy.mil/%7ectaylor/