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Re: [XHTML2] Unicode line and paragraph separators

From: Ernest Cline <ernestcline@mindspring.com>
Date: Sat, 05 Apr 2003 13:38:17 -0500
To: www-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <3E8EDC49.16261.FF1939@localhost>

On 5 Apr 2003 at 13:44, Michael wrote:

> > No, &ls; would not be the same as <br/>. There are several important 
> > differences.  As an entity, the only thing that &ls; could do would be 
> > to indicate a new line.  On the other hand <br/> is an element. As 
> > such, <br/> has a separate node in the DOM tree which takes up much 
> > more memory than the single 16-bit character that &ls; would use.  
> 
> The previous paragraph is making an awful lot of assumptions about how
> the document is being processed, and seems to be missing the point of
> using marked up text at all. If you want a really efficient format
> with line breaks and paragraph separators, simply send plain UNICODE
> text, in the encoding of your choice. No markup, no tags, very
> efficient.

I'm assuming that XHTML2 will still use the current DOM with some 
changes to DOM HTML to accommodate the new elements and attributes.  I 
made no assumptions about anything else a user agent might need to do 
or store so as to be able to render the content.

As for the advantages of using markup, they only occur if the authors 
use the <p> and <l> tags for more than simply indicating paragraph and 
line breaks.  I know that in my own style of writing, I would rarely 
use them for other purposes, and in the web pages that I have looked 
at, I seldom see <p> being used as anything other than to mark 
paragraph boundaries.  However, I admit that my experience may not be 
representative, which is why I keep asking if there is a set of 
representative web pages that could be used to determine if <p> is 
sufficently used as to warrant it being the preferred of the two 
options.

> > As for "bad" pages that use <br/> instead of appropriate semantic 
> > markup, all that will happen if the <l></l> markup is used in XHTML2
> > is that authors (and authoring agents) that now use <br/> instead
> > of semantic markup will use <l></l> instead of semantic markup. You
> > can lead a monkey to a typewriter, but you can't make him write  
> > Shakespeare.
> 
> I believe <br/> and <l/> would not have the same effect.
> 
> 	Hello, world!<br/>
> 	Goodbye, world!
> 
> 	Hello, world!<l/>
> 	Goodbye, world!
> 
> In the first example, the <br/> simply ends the line. In the second 
> example, there is a blank line separating the two lines of text.

I guess that in the desire to be brief, I wasn't being clear.

My point was that authors and authoring agents who wrote web pages like 
this:
<p>
  My three favorite things are:<br/>
  One<br/>
  Two<br/>
  Three<br/>
</p>

would if <l></l> were to replace <br/> then they would write web pages 
like this:

<p>
  <l>My three favorite things are:</l>
  <l>One</l>
  <l>Two</l>
  <l>Three</l>
</p>

instead of the semantically appropriate:

<p>
  My three favorite things are:
  <ul>
    <li>One</li>
    <li>Two</li>
    <li>Three</li>
  </ul>
<p>

Therefore, switching from <br/> to <l></l> or &ls; will not cause 
poorly written pages to be done any better.  They will only cause them 
to be done differently.  Either solution will avoid the problems 
associated with an element that can only be empty.  As for which is the 
better solution, that depends upon how often <l> would be used to do   
more than just separate lines.
Received on Saturday, 5 April 2003 13:38:02 GMT

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