Re: To <P> or not to <P>

> There is a great debate at our firm about the merits and correct usage
> of the <P>, </P> and <BR> tags.  Perhaps someone knows what's up?

The HTML spec is not very prescriptive.  I'd highly recommend some
SGML documents as background.

1. <P> is a structural tag.  <BR> is a visual tag.  The two have
completely separate uses.  <P> marks the beginning of a logical
paragraph.  How that is rendered depends on what software is 
reading it, what style sheets are in use, etc.  A simple browser
will probably insert a blank line before each paragraph.  A voice
renderer may insert a pause.  A conversion program to, say, MS
Word will create a new paragraph.  <BR> just suggests the insertion
of a carriage return, with no implied structure.  The Word converter,
for example, will just insert what Word calls a "soft" return while
keeping the text above and below in the same logical paragraph.
A style sheet that specified, say, drop caps at the start of each
paragraph would ignore <BR>s.

2. </P> is never necessary for any reason.  The end of a logical
paragraph is implied by the beginning of the next element, either
a paragraph, a heading, a division, or other "block" element.

Lee Daniel Crocker <lee@piclab.com>