W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > April 2000

Re: Ignoring empty paragraphs

From: Matthew Brealey <webmaster@richinstyle.com>
Date: Thu, 13 Apr 2000 16:29:42 -0700
Message-ID: <38F65866.7066@richinstyle.com>
To: www-html@w3.org, www-style@w3.org
Ian Graham wrote:
> 
> On Wed, 12 Apr 2000, Braden N. McDaniel wrote
> > > .........
> > >
> > > Yes. But they don't. And they never will do so it's not really relevant/
> >
> > It's absolutely relevant. The spec permits it. You can't handwave it away
> > saying, "That'll never happen." The spec allows it to happen. It could
> > happen.
> >
> > But if the idea of this occuring in a UA style sheet is just too
> > far-fetched for you, perhaps considering this in the user style sheet will
> > bring it down to earth? The effect is the same.

All this assumes that what HTML says is correct, and that is a very big
assumption. I don't think empty P elements should be ignored at all, and
saying that they should was just an undesirable kludge (ignoring things
is never cool), and one that is not needed with proper CSS margin rules.

As to the argument that user style sheets might replace margins with
padding, the reply is 'So what?'. If the ignorant author uses empty P
elements for spacing when producing a page, they will find it won't work
in any browser. So they'll get rid of them, so the (badly designed,
IMHO) user style sheet won't come into play.

I think all that HTML should say is:

'User agents should, by default at least (i.e., it is possible to
override this behaviour using a style language such as CSS), collapse
the margins between empty elements such as P or ADDRESS.'

It just doesn't make any sense to ignore an element simply because it is
called 'P'; furthermore, I don't think that it was intended to ignore an
element on these grounds.

> > > > > Granted, this is an edge case. But the bottom line is that your assertion
> > > > > that an "empty" pseudo-class is unnecessary hinges on unspecified
> > > > > behavior.
> > ...
> >
> > *If* this is a style issue, browser authors creating HTML browsers using
> > a CSS style system ought to be using something like this.
> 
> ... Given that Mozilla [1]
> (apparently) and Tasman [2] (definitely)  have to implement special CSS
> code extensions to deal with empty paragraphs, it would seem sensible to
> introduce a standards-based way of dealing with this. 

Well no it wouldn't, simply because your initial premiss is invalid
[viz. that it is actually intended to ignore empty Ps rather than
collapse their margins], and once one disproves that the whole edifice
comes tumbling down.

> In particular, if
> this is a layout issue for HTML, 

Which it isn't.

> it will also be relevant to XML layout.

Even if it was, I don't think so.

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Received on Thursday, 13 April 2000 11:25:54 GMT

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