W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > October 1999

Re: Acronyms and Abbreviations

From: John Whelan <whelan@itp.unibe.ch>
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 1999 06:22:01 -0400 (EDT)
To: www-html@w3.org
Cc: ngulati@scu.edu.au
Message-id: <199910221021.MAA29472@itpserver>
>> why have both acronym and abbreviation tags?
>> Why have either?
> I'm scared. No-one has an answer.

My guess, based mostly on the fact that 1) ACRONYM is better supported
by browsers and 2) "abbreviation" is a more generic term, is that
ACRONYM was invented first as a proprietary extension with the intent
of marking up presentational ideas like putting acronyms in small
caps, and when the W3C incorporated it into HTML4, they decided that
its use to provide expansions to acronyms (via the TITLE attribute)
also applied to more general abbreviations, whence the ABBR element.
Starting from scratch, I at least would have only defined ABBR, as
many people consider acronyms (a language-dependent concept anyway)
to be a subset of abbreviations. 

Is this close to the truth?
					John T. Whelan
Received on Friday, 22 October 1999 06:36:48 UTC

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