Re: Collapsing breaks & non-beaking spaces.

Liam Quinn (
Mon, 14 Jul 1997 21:40:07 -0400

Message-Id: <>
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 1997 21:40:07 -0400
From: Liam Quinn <>
Subject: Re: Collapsing breaks & non-beaking spaces.
In-Reply-To: <>


At 05:31 PM 14/07/97 -0700, David Perrell wrote:
>Liam Quinn wrote:
>> The expired HTML 3.0 draft stated that the non-breaking space "should
>> treated in the same way as the space character (ASCII character code
>> decimal), except that the user agent should never break lines at this
>> point." [1]  I assume there was a reason for making this rather
>> statement about the behaviour of the non-breaking space.  Perhaps
>> Dave Raggett returns he can offer some insight into this.
>There is a practical reason why white space is collapsed. What do you
>think it is?

I always thought it was because multiple whitespace was meaningless in a 
structural markup language.  Multiple whitespace is presentation, not 
structure.  I don't know if that was the original reasoning way back when, 
but that's the way I've always understood it--that's how it was explained 
to me just over three years ago (only a few days off being exactly three 
years ago too :)).

>What is your reason for wanting &nbsp declared collapsing?

It's not really a big deal one way or the other to me.  I think it makes 
sense that a non-breaking space would be a space, which in turn is 
whitespace, which in turn is collapsible.  And, yes, I like the idea of 
discouraging presentational hacks in HTML.  But I'd rather just see a 
definite statement in the HTML 4.0 draft so that we don't have to have 
these silly arguments about what is and is not collapsible.  If an 
existing standard like ISO 8859-1 had a precise definition of whitespace 
that did not include the non-breaking space, that'd be enough for me.

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Liam Quinn
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