Benjamin Franz (
Wed, 12 Nov 1997 14:01:18 -0800 (PST)

Date: Wed, 12 Nov 1997 14:01:18 -0800 (PST)
From: Benjamin Franz <>
In-Reply-To: <>
Message-ID: <>
Subject: Re: PR-HTML40

On Wed, 12 Nov 1997, Liam Quinn wrote:
> At 06:25 AM 12/11/97 -0800, Benjamin Franz wrote:
> >   The modifications are:
> >
> >      Changed the P, LI, DD, DT, TD, TH and TR elements to be explicitly
> >      closed. This *substantially* improves stylesheet processing in 
> >      current browsers and drastically reduces the mistake rate involving
> >      nested tags. Implicit closing of those elements is the number one
> >      source of coding errors in my experience.
> You mean the number one source of browser bugs (or perhaps the "coding 
> errors" you referred to were browser programmers').

Both. In hand created HTML, losing track of nesting levels is a real
problem and the source of much aggravation. Enforcing closing really aids
the HTML writer. <understatement>It is also clear that browser writers
have problems handling implictly closed elements.</understatment>

> >      Changed the HEIGHT and WIDTH attributes on IMG elements to
> >      be #REQUIRED vice #IMPLIED. This improves perceived speed and/or
> >      document display stability considerably in nearly all existing
> >      browsers.
> It also means that ALT text for small images is unreadable in nearly all 
> existing browsers.  For this reason, many people recommend against using 
> WIDTH and HEIGHT attributes for small images with important ALT text.

The ALT text problem is a *solvable* problem in browser implementation
where the layout hangup caused by no HEIGHT or WIDTH attributes is not. A
smart browser (like say, Spyglass Mosaic) can do intelligent things with
ALT text when images are turned off if the programmer is thinking beyond
the graphics. 

But if the HEIGHT and WIDTH are not there, there is nothing to be done
except either wait for the images before doing layout (Netscape's
approach) or re-laying out the page repeatedly as the images come down
(MSIE's approach). Both cause real headaches to the end user by making the
user potentially wait a VERY long time before seeing *anything* or by
causing the page to move repeated while they are reading it. 

> A nice perfect-world solution, IMO, would be to give the width and height 
> in an external style sheet, which means that an image's width and height 
> need only be specified once for an entire site.  Of course, it's not a 
> perfect world, so this solution is garbage.

A stylesheet setting for generic specification of the area taken by a
transcluded object would be nice - and for more than just images. 

Benjamin Franz