Re: HTML 4.0 draft available

Scott Matthewman (
Wed, 9 Jul 1997 15:05:25 +0100

From: (Scott Matthewman)
To: "Norman Gray" <>
Cc: <>
Subject: Re: HTML 4.0 draft available
Date: Wed, 9 Jul 1997 15:05:25 +0100
Message-ID: <>

> From: Norman Gray <>
> True, they're preferable when you want to emphasise things, but there are
> cases where B and I are still necessary.  The most persuasive cases I've
> seen mentioned are for species' formal names in biology, <i>Homo
> sapiens</i>, or for foreign words, <i>nota bene</i>.  A weaker example is
> when you're quoting a volume number in a bibliography:
> <b>100</b>, pp. 20--30.  
> In none of these cases are you emphasising anything, and so inserting
> in an EM element would be inaccurate.  In the absence of elements like
> SPECIESNAME, or BORROWEDWORD or VOLUME (which we can't reasonably have
> we get XML), there's no unambiguous way of expressing these other than
> falling back on long standing typographical convention.

How about defining subclasses and using the SPAN element?

<STYLE type="text/css">
 .latin {font-style: italic; }
</STYLE> biology, <span class="latin">Homo sapiens</span>, or for foreign
words, <span class="latin">nota bene</span>.

Understand that my reasoning here is based on trying to make HTML 4.0
internally consistent, not necessarily just thinking that you're wrong  -
which as a matter of fact I don't! I know *why* B and I are useful, but
their existence conflicts with the reason why other tags are being

As I see it, HTML 4.0 is another stage in the development of web documents.
In a couple of years, there will be numerous people developing web sites
without ever seeing the underlying HTML, CSS and scripting that makes up
their hyperdocuments. It'll be as ubiquitous as PostScript -- it's in there
somewhere, but most people won't want (or need) to see it.

...I must add I don't think I'll be one of those!

Scott A. Matthewman, Danielson Limited <>
Tel: +44 (0)1296 24478. Fax: +44 (0)1296 392141
"I don't envy you the headache you'll have in the morning. In the meantime,
sleep well and dream of large women." -- The Princess Bride