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SUB and SUP (Was: Re: ISO Latin-1)

From: Jukka Korpela <jkorpela@cc.hut.fi>
Date: Tue, 7 Jul 1998 19:12:45 +0300 (EET DST)
To: www-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.OSF.3.96.980707190231.29730A-100000@beta.hut.fi>
On Tue, 7 Jul 1998, Alan G. Isaac wrote:

> Which both conflicts with current practice and leaves
> a basic semantic construct unaddressed.
> Jukka Korpela wrote:
> > Specifically,
> > the SUP element should not be used for mathematical exponents."

Yes, it conflicts with current practice on some pages--luckily
not very widespread, but definitely existing. 

Current practices which do not work reliably on the World Wide Web
and which, when nonfunctional, distort the _content_ of the pages,
_should_ be conflicted with, deprecated, discouraged and warned against. 
Thus, one might consider using m<SUP>2</SUP> (although m&sup2;
is better) just because the superscript _need_ not be a superscript
(m2 will probably be understood correctly). But as a general method
of presenting exponents, SUP is too unreliable.

Yes, it leaves a basic semantic construct unaddressed, just as HTML
specifications still leave even the most basic mathematics unaddressed.

Please notice that if there were a semantic construct for exponentiation
in HTML, it would be no problem to present things even in character
cell browsers. Of course, any linearized notation is probably less
convenient, but something like a**b or a^b (or even a<SUP>b</SUP>
displayed visibly, or "a to the power b") would still carry the
_information_ - ab doesn't if it's intended to mean a raised to power b.

Yucca, http://www.hut.fi/u/jkorpela/ or http://yucca.hut.fi/yucca.html
Received on Tuesday, 7 July 1998 12:12:30 UTC

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