Collapsing breaks & non-beaking spaces.

Mike Meyer (mwm@contessa.phone.net)
Sun, 13 Jul 1997 14:15:30 PST


Subject:  Collapsing breaks & non-beaking spaces.
In-Reply-To: <199707131920.MAA16826@sweden.it.earthlink.net>
From: mwm@contessa.phone.net (Mike Meyer)
To: www-html@w3.org
Date: Sun, 13 Jul 1997 14:15:30 PST
Message-ID: <19970713.76DE3F8.CE60@contessa.phone.net>

> > The reason in favor is "non-breaking space is a space, and spaces
> > collapse".
> There is logic to that pedantry, but the more useful interpretation
> should prevail.

The same logic that was used in the argument "non-breaking space is
not a space, and so shouldn't collapse", wasn't it? :-)

First, a question - who defined the non-breaking space? Didn't HTML
pick it up from ISO when the ISO Latin 1 entities were added? If so,
it's not clear it's appropriate for an HTML spec to make this
decision.

> I agreed that the behavior should be stated in the spec. And since
> collapsing multiple consecutive BR and &nbsp reduces functionality and
> not collapsing has no negative side effects for authors, neither should
> be collapsed.

Pragmatically, I agree with you. However, consider non-print media
that don't HAVE a line break to worry about. In those media, there is
*NO* difference in the rendering of the string "David Perrell" and the
string "David&nbsp;Perrell". That there should then be a difference
between "David  Perrell" and "David&nbsp;&nbsp;Perrell" seems, well,
wrong. This argues very strongly that &nbsp; is a space and hence
should collapse.

Got a question about <BR> as well. How should a lone <BR> be rendered
when it's "natural" rendering is at the start of a line. I.e. given:

	end of long line 1<BR>start of line 2

which renders as:

			|<-margin
	end of long line
	1
	start of line 2

If you increase the margin a bit, should it render as:

	case 1:		  |<-margin
	end of long line 1
	start of line 2	

or as:

	case 2:		  |<-margin
	end of long line 1
	
	start of line 2


where the blank line is caused by the <BR> breaking at the beginning
of the line?

	<mike