Re: Definition lists

Albert Lunde (
Fri, 25 Jul 1997 20:26:32 CDT

Message-Id: <>
Subject: Re: Definition lists
To: wahlen@ph-cip.Uni-Koeln.DE
Date: Fri, 25 Jul 1997 20:26:32 CDT
In-Reply-To: <>; from "Holger Wahlen" at Jul 26, 97 1:07 am
From: (Albert Lunde)

> The HTML 2.0 specification contained the following in the
> description of DL:
> | The content of a <DL> element is a sequence of <DT> elements 
> | and/or <DD> elements, usually in pairs. Multiple <DT> may be 
> | paired with a single <DD> element. Documents should not 
> | contain multiple consecutive <DD> elements.
> Nevertheless, the declaration in the DTD was
>       <!ELEMENT DL  - -  (DT | DD)+>,
> allowing an arbitrary sequence. This declaration has remained
> unchanged in 3.2 and also in the 4.0 draft, whereas the
> respective texts don't contain the precise remarks about
> element repetitions any more: The 3.2 spec just gives an
> example for such a list, nothing more, the draft says that
> "list items consist of two parts: an initial label and a
> description", but still fails to explain precisely which
> sequence is recommended, allowed or required.
> Does that mean that any order is now considered `proper', or
> has that part just been overlooked when the specs were
> written? If the latter, why isn't the "should not" from the
> quote above made a "must not" by choosing (DT+, DD)+ as the
> content (which would, in addition, eliminate the possibility
> of a DD as the first element in such a list)?

I think the form of this part the HTML 2.0 DTD was discussed on the IETF
html-wg list. I don't recall the details but I think it
was a deliberate decision at that time, perhaps to follow
pre-existing practice.

    Albert Lunde