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Re: Cleaning House

From: Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis <bhawkeslewis@googlemail.com>
Date: Sun, 06 May 2007 15:10:45 +0100
Message-ID: <463DE1E5.1030007@googlemail.com>
To: Philip & Le Khanh <Philip-and-LeKhanh@Royal-Tunbridge-Wells.Org>
CC: www-html@w3.org, public-html@w3.org

Philip & Le Khanh wrote:
> Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis wrote:
>  > HTML 4.01 does something rather odd in that it fails to define the
>  > interpretation or rendering of <i> normatively at all:
>  >
>  > http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/present/graphics.html#edef-I
> I cannot derive that inference from the passage you cite at all.
> It starts with the words "15.2.1 Font style elements: the TT,
> I, B, BIG, SMALL, STRIKE, S, and U elements".  Thus it is
> clearly stating that these elements  denote font style.

Good point, the heading is normative. I agree we can say that in 
normative HTML 4.01 <i> is for "font style"; and I suspect we can agree 
that's inconsistent with HTML 3.2.

> It then goes on to say
>>> Rendering of font style elements depends on the user agent. The 
>>> following is an informative description only.
>>>     TT: Renders as teletype or monospaced text.
>>>     I: Renders as italic text style.
>>>     B: Renders as bold text style.
>>>     BIG: Renders text in a "large" font.
>>>     SMALL: Renders text in a "small" font.
>>>     STRIKE and S: Deprecated. Render strike-through style text.
>>>     U: Deprecated. Renders underlined text. 
>  > So if it's false to say that <i> implies emphasis in standard HTML 4.01,
>  > it's also not strictly true to say that <i> indicates italic.
> <i> can't "indicate italic", since not all fonts have an italic variant;
> it may well indicate slanted or oblique instead. 

Even the informative section doesn't suggest it /indicates/ something. 
It just suggests a possible rendering.

Contrast the spec's willingness to stipulate normatively that "Visual 
user agents must ensure that the content of the Q element is rendered 
with delimiting quotation marks" and that "User agents should render 
quotation marks in a language-sensitive manner":


In this case, the distinction is all but meaningless in practice; I'm 
just remarking the weird coyness of the spec at this point.

> Yes, there is no "normative" statement to this effect : but clearer guidance
> from the informative prose would be hard to find.

Sure. That's all I'm saying: there is no normative statement to that 
effect. Which means it's not part of the specified contract between 
authors and UAs.

Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis
Received on Sunday, 6 May 2007 14:10:57 UTC

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