W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > September 1996

Re: space

From: Walter Ian Kaye <walter@natural-innovations.com>
Date: Mon, 23 Sep 1996 02:43:00 -0700
Message-Id: <v03007805ae6c0a2fc6ef@[]>
To: www-html@w3.org, www-style@w3.org
At 9:56a +0100 09/23/96, Peter Flynn wrote:

>   and the two spaces between the state and zip code in an address.
>As I understood it, this was recommended when the address was block-
>formatted for an envelope (ie line by line), not when an address was
>embedded in a paragraph. Again, "two spaces" is not a meaningful
>quantity when using regular proportional fonts which may en up being
>justified: the space is a flexible quantity, so you have to specify a
>dimension like "2 picas" or "18 points".

In fact, the USPS did originally define it as 0.2", which just happens
to correspond to 2 spaces for 12-pt Courier. However, this was before
their OCR machines became fluent in common sans-serif proportional fonts,
and the 0.2" rule was later relaxed.

>   Do people suggest this extra space be
>   maintained in HTML documents and how do people propose to do it?
>The ISOpub character entity set contains the following, which should
>be adequate:
><!ENTITY emsp   SDATA "[emsp  ]" -- em space -- >
><!ENTITY ensp   SDATA "[ensp  ]" -- en space (1/2-em) -- >
><!ENTITY emsp13 SDATA "[emsp3 ]" -- 1/3-em space -- >
><!ENTITY emsp14 SDATA "[emsp4 ]" -- 1/4-em space -- >
><!ENTITY numsp  SDATA "[numsp ]" -- digit space (width of a number) -- >
><!ENTITY puncsp SDATA "[puncsp]" -- punctuation space (width of comma) -- >
><!ENTITY thinsp SDATA "[thinsp]" -- thin space (1/6-em) -- >
><!ENTITY hairsp SDATA "[hairsp]" -- hair space -- >

None of those are usable for computer source code, however. In source
code, a specific number of space characters can be vital to the correct
functioning of the program! Currently, HTML is unusable as a means of
transmitting source code; other content types must be used instead.

    Walter Ian Kaye <boo@best.com>     Programmer - Excel, AppleScript,
          Mountain View, CA                         ProTERM, FoxPro, HTML
 http://www.natural-innovations.com/     Musician - Guitarist, Songwriter
Received on Monday, 23 September 1996 05:43:32 UTC

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