W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > April 2003

Re: [XHTML2] Unicode line and paragraph separators

From: Jim Dabell <jim-www-html@jimdabell.com>
Date: Mon, 7 Apr 2003 20:45:28 +0100
To: www-html@w3.org
Message-Id: <200304072045.28173.jim-www-html@jimdabell.com>

On Monday 07 Apr 2003 6:10 pm, Philip TAYLOR \[PC87S/O-XP\] wrote:
> There is little doubt in my mind that even the most pure of purist
> logical markup advocates have, somewhere in the deepest recesses
> of their minds, some anticipation of how their carefully-marked-up
> text will appear after styling by some rendering agent.

My position is that styling is a valid use of the semantic information 
provided by good markup.  There's nothing "dirty" about including extra 
information to help that process along :)

> Thus I would support
> M. Cline's argument that <sentence> ... </sentence> is arguably
> as important as <p> ... </p>, even though HTML has ignored the
> concept ever since its inception.

I would say that yes, it is as important as the <p> element.  However, there 
are different costs associated with the two elements.  I expect that the 
markup of sentences would be far less popular than markup of paragraphs.

From a coding perspective, it's a large amount of bloat for the average 
page, and a lot of typing.

From a visual viewpoint, not being able to distinguish between different 
sentences may have a _slight_ effect on readability, but nowhere near as 
bad as if you didn't have the <p> element.

From an authoring tool point of view, you can automatically detect when the 
user wants to begin or end a paragraph with a double newline (for better or 
worse).  It's less easy to do this for sentence elements.

From an accessibility point of view, it may be beneficial to aural 
user-agents, as they could insert small gaps between sentences.

I think that, should a <sentence> element be added to XHTML, it would not be 
very popular.  However, there are currently other elements in XHTML that 
are highly specialised, such as <var>, where the same arguments can be 
made, and there are other elements that could be included that would be far 
more popular and appropriate for the medium (what about 

Jim Dabell
Received on Monday, 7 April 2003 15:46:31 UTC

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