Re: B, I (Re: HTML 4.0 draft available)

Ian Samson (
Thu, 10 Jul 1997 11:54:22 +200

From: "Ian Samson" <>
To: "Heinrich C. Kuhn" <>,
Date: Thu, 10 Jul 1997 11:54:22 +200
Subject: Re: B, I (Re: HTML 4.0 draft available)
In-reply-to: <>
Message-ID: <>

Here is my 2c worth... (Scott Matthewman) wrote:

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

IMHO, <STRONG> and <EM> are NOT preferable to <B> and <I> since <B> and <I> 
are easier to type and don't waste space. Some HTML editors automate the 
process for <B> and <I> but not for <STRONG> or <EM>!

> 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 category.
> 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.

<I>, <B>, and <U> are used in Bibliographic information. Anyone publishing
academic research papers and publications on the Internet will know how
picky academics are about "correct" format.

By deprecating these tags, the W3C will be annoying most academics, some
of whose knowledge created the Web in the first place!

> 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).

I disagree for the same reasons expressed above; except to add it would be 
nice to be able to define two or more "styles" for the <DL>,<DT>, and <DD> 
tags ... at present, if a document has need for numerous <DL> styles, the 
document must be separated into individual .HTMLs!

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

Hear here!! as well as <U></u>. They could do well to get rid of <P 
ALIGN=JUSTIFY> since this tag rarely works at all!

Best regards,

Ian Samson
WebMaster & Internet Systems Developer (SBN/MSDN Member, HWG Member)
Voice:  (+27(0)12) 302 2013
See my homepage at:
Opinions expressed in this message are my own 
and do not reflect official policy of the HSRC.