W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > July 1998

Re: ISO Latin-1

From: Jukka Korpela <jkorpela@cc.hut.fi>
Date: Mon, 6 Jul 1998 12:29:43 +0300 (EET DST)
To: www-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.OSF.3.96.980706120047.6619B-100000@beta.hut.fi>
On Wed, 24 Jun 1998, Chris Maden wrote:

> [Rita Montorsi]
> > Is there an 8-bit ASCII code for. . .
> > 
> > SM
> > 
> > Like TM (for Trademark), I have looked everywhere and cannot seem to
> > find it.
> That's because it doesn't exist.
> (I think you mean ISO 8859-1, not ASCII; ASCII is only 7 bits.)

I think it needs to be pointed out that the trademark symbol is
neither in ASCII nor in ISO 8859-1, contrary to popular belief
of authors who work on Windows and never took a look at real info
about ISO 8859-1. The trademark symbol can, according to HTML 4.0
spec, be presented as &trade; or as &#8482; or as &#x2122; so
from the viewpoint of HTML language definition there is no problem.
(However, in practice these methods don't work widely enough to
justify using them, so it is advisable to use some replacement. See
http://www.hut.fi/u/jkorpela/www/windows-chars.html )
> (Don't just use <sup>SM</sup>, because in some browsers
> CRI<sup>SM</sup> will show up as CRISM.

Healthy advice. This reminds me... it seems that there _still_ is
no definite reference definition for the _meaning_ of the SUP element
(or the SUB element for that matter) in HTML. See
Notice that the HTML 4.0 specification does not remove the ambiguity;
rather, it adds to it by first characterizing SUB and SUP in a manner
which suggests that they are stylistic only ("Many scripts (e.g., French)
require superscripts or subscripts for proper rendering. The SUB and 
SUP elements should be used to markup text in these cases."), then
gives, without any comment, the example E = mc<sup>2</sup> where the
use of exponent 2 versus normal 2 is definitely not stylistic only!

I wonder if _this_ is the kind of area where there could be some
progress--official clarification and correction of the specs--despite
the statement at http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/Activity.html which
looks for "a fresh start with the next generation of HTML, based upon a
suite of XML tag-sets". Cf. "Lurching Toward Babel: HTML, CSS, and XML",

If it is, it would be relatively straightforward to write down
a clarification. The text quoted above (ending with "-- in these cases.")
could be continued as follows: "Browsers should present their content
in superscript or subscript style, preferably in a font slightly
smaller than normal. However, such presentation being impossible
in many situations, authors should not rely on it. Specifically,
the SUP element should not be used for mathematical exponents."
And naturally the E = mc<sup>2</sup> example should be removed
or replaced by something like
Foo<sup>(TM)</sup> is a trademark of Bar, Inc.
<sup>0</sup>/<sub>00</sub> (simulated per mille sign)   

Yucca, http://www.hut.fi/u/jkorpela/ or http://yucca.hut.fi/yucca.html
Received on Monday, 6 July 1998 05:29:22 UTC

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