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Re: Structure of Paragraphs in HTML/XHTML

From: todd fahrner <fahrner@pobox.com>
Date: Thu, 18 Apr 2002 13:00:53 -0700
Cc: <bookquestions@oreilly.com>, <www-html@w3.org>
To: hammond@csc.albany.edu (William F. Hammond)
Message-Id: <FCEDBE58-5306-11D6-AEC4-003065BD01D0@pobox.com>
On Thursday, April 18, 2002, at 12:16 PM, William F. Hammond wrote:

> "Laurie Brown" <laurieb@tidalwave.net> writes:
>> While this looks OK with the current default behavior of 
>> browsers--i.e.,
>> skipping a line between before and after elements denoted as 
>> paragraphs--it
>> may not in the future depending on rendering styles.  In 
>> addition, it does
>> not seem to me to be semantically correct.
> Yes, it's not semantically correct.  HTML does not provide a suitable
> markup vocabulary for literate writing.

On the whole, I agree. In this case, however, the following is 
valid and may be semantically appropriate, too:

   <p>A few introductory sentences...
     <q>The quote...</q>
   A few concluding sentences...</p>

This works as long as the quotation is not itself composed of 
multiple blocks, as a list or something. As for the rendering, 
'the' default is irrelevant as a criterion for the suitability of 
the markup per se, but q { display: block } gets you most of the 
way there, probably.

Most print style guides call for quotations to be presented as 
blocks only if they would exceed a certain number of lines. Getting 
that right would require a close binding - two-way - between 
formatting and rendering components, and I'm not aware of any 
standards-track technology that attempts this.

Todd "don't diss html because your favorite implementation fails to 
support suitable renderings" Fahrner
Received on Thursday, 18 April 2002 16:01:04 UTC

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