Re: Collapsing breaks & non-beaking spaces.

Stephanos Piperoglou (
Mon, 14 Jul 1997 16:55:33 +0300 (EET DST)

Date: Mon, 14 Jul 1997 16:55:33 +0300 (EET DST)
From: Stephanos Piperoglou <>
To: Liam Quinn <>
Subject: Re: Collapsing breaks & non-beaking spaces.
In-Reply-To: <>
Message-ID: <>

On Sun, 13 Jul 1997, Liam Quinn wrote:

> We've established that there is no use for multiple non-breaking spaces 
> except as a presentation hack, so why not define the non-breaking space as 
> collapsible?  The other alternatives are to define it as non-collapsible, 
> which would give justification to the abuse, or to avoid a statement, 
> which still leaves many people assuming that whatever Netscape does is the 
> standard, de facto or otherwise.

How about

foo&nbsp; bar

(note the space - the *regular* space - after the nbsp)

Do these two "spaces" collapse or not? I think not. &nbsp; is a character
whose glyph is transparent. So there. This does not prevent a line break,
mind you; but a transparent glyph will be there at the end of the line if it

Bottom line, people: &nbsp; is a character that avoids linebreaks at that
point. How did browser accomplish it? By treating it as any other
non-whitespace character. Is this bad? No, because (a) it fulfills its
purpose and (b) any reason for abuse is superseded by CSS.

If another browser comes along and accomplishes the don't-break-at-nbsp
behaviour in some other way, it might crunch on multiple nbsp;'s, but that's
the author's fault, and he's got nothing to exonerate (sp) himself.

Think: I'm a naive HTML newbie writing a ToC:

Chapter One................................1<BR>
Chapter One and a Half....................15<BR>

This would render fine on Lynx, it uses a non-proportional font. It would
look horrible on anything else. It's perfectly valid HTML, though; no need
to make it illegal. HTML will *never* make it possible to *disallow* all bad
uses, no matter what you do.

    Stephanos "Pippis" Piperoglou -
All I wanted in my life was a little love and a lot of money. In that order.
                [ Failure is a crime. Defeat; an atrocity! ]

                                                   ...oof porothika