Re: <plaintext> tag obsolete? I think not!

terje@in-progress.com
Tue, 3 Feb 1998 15:36:40 -0800


From: terje@in-progress.com
Message-Id: <b0fd53420102100482e6@[199.106.6.97]>
Date: Tue, 3 Feb 1998 15:36:40 -0800
To: www-html@w3.org
Subject: Re: <plaintext> tag obsolete? I think not!

At 11:59 AM 2/3/98, David Cary wrote:
>It is possible to print *any* characters to the screen using the <pre> tag;
>anything you could possibly want to display with the <plaintext> tag, you
>can also display using the <pre> tag instead.
>
>Therefore the <plaintext> tag is redundant and unneeded.

Without discarding the conclusion, this argument is flawed. Tags aren't
meant to be commands but to describe content structure and roles of the
different part of a document. Thus, one shouldn't coin an element as
redundant based on that browsers present the content in the same way.

Granted, plaintext and pre are not the best examples of descriptive markup.
However, a similar argument was the reason that the MENU element was made
obsolete some time ago, based on that one could achieve the same bulletted
listing with UL. Big mistake.

>I am kind of skeptical of the "CDATA" code listed. I think this is SGML
>markup, and although it might work fine in browsers based on SGML, I
>thought the HTML standard recommended *not* putting SGML code into HTML
>documents.

Keep in mind that HTML is an SGML document type. Thus it is appropriate to
bring up solutions already covered by the standard when discussing how HTML
should cover given needs.

Note that the www-html list is a technical list for how to improve HTML. It
is NOT a list for pragmatic HTML hacks in how to achieve desired effects in
the browsers.

-- Terje <Terje@in-progress.com> | Media Design in*Progress

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