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Re: proposal for HTML4.01 amendment: <BR PAGEBREAK="before">

From: Frank Tobin <ftobin@neverending.org>
Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2002 17:52:53 -0500 (EST)
To: www-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <20020111173755.I53118-100000@palanthas.neverending.org>
Philip Brown, at 14:34 -0800 on 2002-01-11, wrote:

> You could just as well say that <BR> and <HR> are "presentation". But
> they arent even deprecated.

<hr> presumably has semantics (though the name suggests otherwise; the
semantics were probably an afterthough).  It is a 'divisor' of sorts.
I don't know about <br>...good question, though.

> Try to not get stuck in "page breaks are for printers" and think of the
> higher level meaning. A "page break" essentially indicates a stronger
> "change of topic" than a horizontal rule. You might consider a page
> break to be HR1, whereas the current one would be HR2.

I understand; a 'page break' can also be used as a 'next screen' for
terminal-oriented browsers, too, which even more suggests that it is

It's an appealing argument, but I counter-argue is page-breaks are not
intrinsically a semantic division, but merely presentational.

> Besides which, page breaks arent just for printers. The pure text
> program "more", for example, will special-case pagebreaks, aka "form
> feeds". It will stop scrolling down when it hits ^L, until the reader
> presses spacebar.

In this case, I would argue you are mixing the concept of presentation and
semantics.  The formfeed character is really a presentational element; it
is not semantically dividing a page.  Sure, many authors will will use ^L
to semantically divide a page, but it is not intrinsic to the ^L; by
itself it is a presentational artifact.  How the agent acts with the
formfeed char is a presentational issue.  Hence, your pagbreak/formfeed is
still presentational, and still be in CSS.

> Information about pagebreaks belongs in core HTML just as much as the HR
> tag does. (If you'd rather it be an attribute to HR, over BR, fine by
> me. I just want it in there somewhere :-)

As I stated, hr is really more semantic.  I can't argue br, though.  I
wonder why it's still there...maybe something to do with the fact that
some thing's semantics are 'defined' by their linebreaks (addresses, etc).
In fact, multi-line addresses are the only place I use br's.

These arguments are much better than the ones you presented in your
original message.  Unfortunately, your argument goes like "See!  HTML
*already* has this stuff!" when 'this stuff' (hr/br) is probably the
grayest part of the HTML standard with respect to its semantic legitimacy.
Sorta like my saying, "You get no points for pointing out contradictions
in American law".

Frank Tobin		http://www.neverending.org/~ftobin/
Received on Friday, 11 January 2002 17:53:08 UTC

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