HTML 3.2 and 4.0 DTD definition of BASEFONT in error?

Brian Wilson (bloo@blooberry.com)
Thu, 30 Oct 1997 00:07:06 -0800


Message-ID: <3458402A.3621E6FC@blooberry.com>
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 1997 00:07:06 -0800
From: Brian Wilson <bloo@blooberry.com>
To: www-html@w3.org
Subject: HTML 3.2 and 4.0 DTD definition of BASEFONT in error?

In the HTML 3.2 and 4.0 draft, the BASEFONT element is not 
a container. Comparing this to the behavior of the browser that 
created it (Netscape) [1], it is obviously very functional as a 
container element. MSIE treats it this way too. 

  HTML 3.2 was supposed to codify current practice of the time, 
and I wonder how this was missed. My reading of the 3.2/4.0 
DTD snippet below would indicate that a compliant browser 
would _ignore_ the end tag, yes? I am only familiar with how NS 
and IE have implemented it - have many others? Do any browsers 
NOT treat BASEFONT as a container? 

  I did some snooping around the archives of www-html for the 
HTML 3.2 era and could not find an immediate answer to this. 
So, why is BASEFONT phrased as: (pardon any SGML phrasing errors)

  <!ELEMENT BASEFONT - O EMPTY    -- base font size (1 to 7)-->

in both the HTML 3.2 and the 4.0 loose (9/17/97) DTDs? It has 
always seemed to me that in practice it should probably be 
part of the %block variable, and the DTD snippet should be:

<!ELEMENT BASEFONT - - (%block;)* -(TABLE) 
                                      -- base font properties -->

Regarding using %block as allowed contents: In use, this 
interpretation seems to fit common practice rather than keeping it
in the %special grouping (in the HTML 4.0 loose version.) I omit 
the TABLE element from the content model because of the 
long-standing gap in BASEFONT behavior in IE and NS (not to 
say that this is _good_ behavior, just well entrenched.)

  Can the DTD rules for BASEFONT be altered at this point to reflect 
the actual implementation of the element by browser vendors? 

Am I standing out in left field after the game is over?

-Brian 

[1] http://home.netscape.com/assist/net_sites/html_extensions.html
(admittedly, this document does little to address the 
point at hand)

-- 
Brian Wilson -----------------------"Those aren't Sex muffins!   -Coach
bloo@blooberry.com ------------------Those aren't Love muffins! 
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