Re: Some complaints about HTML 4.0

David Perrell (
Sat, 12 Jul 1997 21:43:06 -0700

Message-Id: <>
From: "David Perrell" <>
To: <>, "Liam Quinn" <>
Subject: Re: Some complaints about HTML 4.0
Date: Sat, 12 Jul 1997 21:43:06 -0700

Liam Quinn wrote:
> Not really, except perhaps that multiple spaces (non-breaking or 
> otherwise) are not structural elements and thus should be ignored. 
> 4.0 defines the &nbsp; entity as a method for prohibiting a line
> If we accept &nbsp; as a non-collapsing, non-breaking space, HTML
> definition would have to be augmented to also define &nbsp; as a
> for forcing a space.  But the fact that multiple spaces have nothing
to do 
> with structure and everything to do with presentation suggests that
> collapsible spaces have no place in HTML.
> While we're on this topic...  What about multiple BR elements? 
> these be collapsed?

No, for the same reason as &nbsp;. HTML should not be an exercise in
pedantry. Choose the interpretation that provides the most power of
expression. Do not actively limit presentational possibilities for the
sake of structural Puritanism.

What's wrong with simply considering &nbsp; as an imaginary character
without a glyph? Of course that does require a few caveats. For
example, is it a vowel or a consonant? But given the Unicode
Consortium's interpretation of &shy;, this shouldn't be a problem.

David Perrell