Re: The P content model

Hi Tina,

<p>I have to disagree with your idea that:

  <blockquote>[T]he structure of a paragraph does
  not admit itself to contain a table, a pre, or even
  a blockquote.</blockquote>

which, as I have just shown is not true.</p>

I certainly agree that it is good writing style to represent one idea
in each paragraph, rather than having one enormous block of text with
no breaks.

Consequently, it makes sense to disallow paragraphs to be nested --
after all, what would it mean?

But where I disagree with you, is that the relationship between tables
and text is not always as disjoint as you imply. You seem to be saying
that tables appear in pages at positions that could be determined by
CSS, and that text should flow around them in some kind of pleasing
layout. But what if the table is part of the single argument that we
are diligently pursuing in our paragraph? The table cannot be moved
outside of the text, and the text cannot arbitrarily flow around the
table to suit the layout.

Essentially, it's the difference between writing "See Table 1", which
would allow you to position the table anywhere on the page, versus
writing "In the following table:", and I think we need the flexibility
to allow both types of layout.

The same goes for things like <blockquote>, which I used in my example
at the top; when pursuing our 'single argument' in our paragraph, we
can use all sorts of grammatical constructs -- including quotes -- to
help us make our point.



On Sat, Jan 10, 2009 at 11:52 PM, Tina Holmboe <> wrote:
>  [Note: in this mail I use all uppercase for element names simply to
>  make them stand out in a plain text environment such as mail.
>  Similarly I use the @attribute-name convention]
>  "I mean, think about how books are structured. If tables are
>   ever included, they're always labelled as 'Table 1' and set off
>   to the side, and even if it breaks a paragraph visually, I
>   would always perceive that the text flows around the table,
>   not that the paragraph contains a table."
>  This is a quote from an acquaintance in response to the question of
>  what, possibly, goes on inside a paragraph. Currently the XHTML 2 draft
>  says the following:
>  "In comparison with earlier versions of HTML, where a paragraph could
>   only contain inline text, XHTML2's paragraphs represent the conceptual
>   idea of a paragraph, and so may contain lists, blockquotes, pre's and
>   tables as well as inline text. Note however that they may not contain
>   directly nested p elements." - W3C Editor's Draft 09 January 2009
>  But frankly I feel we have a problem. When humans communicate we do so
>  by agreeing on the of words - and various other things outside the
>  scope of this comment - so that when I say banana, you know its not an
>  orange of which I speak.
>  However, looking up "paragraph" in the OED gives us
>   "A distinct section of a piece of writing, beginning on a new line"
>  and in Wikipedia:
>   "A passage in text that is about a different subject from the preceding
>    text, marked by commencing on a new line, the first line sometimes
>    being indented."
>  or from Merriam-Webster:
>   "A subdivision of a written composition that consists of one or more
>    sentences, deals with one point or gives the words of one speaker,
>    and begins on a new usually indented line b: a short composition or
>    note that is complete in one paragraph"
>  I would argue that common concept of a paragraph is quite different
>  from that we currently use in the XHTML draft, and that we should
>  change it so that it reflect the way a paragraph is normally understood
>  by authors, namely the way it is currently defined in the XHTML 1.*
>  series languages.
>  Note that I do not in any way claim there are no need to render, for
>  instance, a paragraph on the side of, or even around, a table. What I
>  am saying is that the structure of a paragraph does not admit itself to
>  contain a table, a pre, or even a blockquote. A list is an edge case,
>  but should we allow this I suggest the creation of an inline list
>  element type.
>  We must, in my view, keep this firmly in mind:
>  "Less presentation, more structure: use style sheets for defining
>   presentation" - W3C Editor's Draft 09 January 2009
>  Rendering a table 'inside' a paragraph is certainly the work of CSS,
>  not XHTML.
> --
>  - Tina Holmboe       siteSifter                  Greytower Technologies
>      Website Quality and Accessibility Testing

Mark Birbeck, webBackplane

webBackplane is a trading name of Backplane Ltd. (company number
05972288, registered office: 2nd Floor, 69/85 Tabernacle Street,
London, EC2A 4RR)

Received on Monday, 12 January 2009 12:15:18 UTC