Re: Some complaints about HTML 4.0

Liam Quinn (
Sun, 13 Jul 1997 00:11:09 -0400

Message-Id: <>
Date: Sun, 13 Jul 1997 00:11:09 -0400
From: Liam Quinn <>
Subject: Re: Some complaints about HTML 4.0
In-Reply-To: <>


At 08:44 PM 12/07/97 -0700, David Perrell wrote:
>>From Liam Quinn:
>> At 06:59 PM 12/07/97 -0700, David Perrell wrote:
>> >Arnoud "Galactus" Engelfriet wrote:
>> >> 2. There is definite statement on &nbsp;&nbsp; being collapsing or
>> >not.
>> >
>> >A statement there should definitely be, and it should definitely be
>> >'not'.
>> Why?
>The reason white space must collapse is to allow readable structured
>markup. Author/designers commonly use multiple &nbsp; to bypass that
>limitation. Since consecutive &nbsp; are there by intent, and the
>intent is unambiguous, is there any logical reason why they should

Not really, except perhaps that multiple spaces (non-breaking or 
otherwise) are not structural elements and thus should be ignored.  HTML 
4.0 defines the &nbsp; entity as a method for prohibiting a line break.  
If we accept &nbsp; as a non-collapsing, non-breaking space, HTML 4.0's 
definition would have to be augmented to also define &nbsp; as a method 
for forcing a space.  But the fact that multiple spaces have nothing to do 
with structure and everything to do with presentation suggests that non-
collapsible spaces have no place in HTML.

While we're on this topic...  What about multiple BR elements?  Should 
these be collapsed?

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Liam Quinn
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