B, I (Re: HTML 4.0 draft available)

Heinrich C. Kuhn (kuhn@mpg-gv.mpg.de)
Wed, 9 Jul 1997 15:43:15 GMT+2

Message-Id: <199707091343.JAA25378@www10.w3.org>
From: "Heinrich C. Kuhn" <kuhn@mpg-gv.mpg.de>
To: www-html@w3.org
Date: Wed, 9 Jul 1997 15:43:15 GMT+2
Subject: B, I (Re: HTML 4.0 draft available)

scottm@danielson.co.uk (Scott Matthewman) wrote:
> > If <U> is deprecated, why isn't <TT>, <XMP>, <SAMP>, <MENU>, <DIR>, ...?

> Similarly, I think B and I should be deprecated. STRONG and EM are
> preferable.

I *do* share the view, that tags that are for layout *only* should
be deprecated. But I don't think, that <B>, and especially <I>
fall into this cahegory.

I'll try to explain:

<I></I> is not only used for emphasis, but as well for singling
out things like Latin names of species. And: at least in German
common usage <I></I> is used to markup terms that have their 
origin in foreign languages and are not really incorporated into
German. I'll spare you the German examples [:-)]. But I'll try to 
give you annother example. Averroes (Ibn Rushd) was to the Latin
middle ages *the* commentator of Aristotle (<latin>commentator
</latin>). Now consider the following sentence: "The <I>commentator
</I> was the only commentator Thomas Aquinas used for his
knowledge on Alexander of Aphrodisisas": I don't now how to
preserve this sentence without the use of <I></I>. <STRONG>
</STRONG> certainly wouldn't be an alternative ... . And
having the sentence begin with "<STRONG>The</STRONG>" whould
mean a shift of emphasis even in *that* sentence.

Now to <B></B>: Yes, I agree, we could do without it, *if*
there were a way to force browsers *not* to render it in
italics. As soon as all current browsers do handle style-
sheets I'd no longer have a use for it. But till that time
has come, I'd like to have an instrument for emphasis that
cannot be rendered as <I></I> (which, as I said, in some
cases means more than only optical markup).

So I'd say: It's not yet time to deprecate <B></B>, and
<I></I> should remain an element of HTML.


Heinrich C. Kuhn

*  Dr. Heinrich C. Kuhn   (coordinator libraries)
*  Max-Planck-Gesellschaft / Generalverwaltung VIIIb3
*  Postfach 10 10 62
*  D-80084 Muenchen
*  voice: +49-89-2108 1563
*  fax:   +49-89-2108 1565
*  eMail: hck@ipp-garching.mpg.de   or
*          kuhn@mpg-gv.mpg.de