[Standards-JIG] XHTML further simplification

Rachel Blackman rcb at ceruleanstudios.com
Tue Sep 21 17:10:49 UTC 2004

>> You also cannot duplicate <br/><br/> with <p/> elements, since an 
>> empty
>> <p/> element should be ignored, according to the HTML4.01 spec, upon
>> which the XHTML1 specs are built.
> Using <br/><br/> is bad style anyway.  Why didn't you just end the 
> paragraph
> at that point?  Is it really semantically the same paragraph even if 
> the
> reader is about to see a blank line before the other half of it?

It's lovely to discuss the ideal semantics, the proper way to do 
design.  From the standpoint of purely a discussion of XHTML1 grammar, 
many of these points are good ones.  Is Joe Q. User going to care about 
this?  All they're going to want is that if they paste in text to their 
input window -- yes, even if it has two line breaks between a bit of 
text -- that it gets sent.

If, say, my father pastes in some text under AIM and MSN and ICQ and it 
goes through fine, but he sees it missing a line break under Jabber, 
he's not likely going to go 'wow, Jabber enforces good XHTML1 or 
HTML4.01 standards!'  My father neither knows nor wants to know HTML, 
much less XHTML.  He will only see 'AIM and MSN sent what I told them, 
Jabber didn't.  Jabber must be broken, I'll just use MSN for this 

Not to harp on an old point again, but... protocol geeks and developers 
love all the little details and fiddly-bits of what's going across the 
wire.  But it doesn't matter how much cool stuff you have under the 
hood in protocol-land; if the average end-user doesn't see at least the 
same level of features they get under MSN or AIM, they're going to have 
little reason to switch.

This conversation seems to begin to swerve away from 'how do we 
represent things' to 'why would you use <br/> twice?' sort of topics, 
but that seems to me to be the wrong path.  The issue isn't a user 
doing <br/> twice in designing a webpage, the issue is a user having 
two linefeeds in their text input.  It works in the plaintext body, and 
they'll expect it to work in the formatted equivalent.  And they likely 
don't care if it's <br/> or whatnot, behind the scenes. :)

Rachel 'Sparks' Blackman -- sysadmin, developer, mad scientist
"If it is not broken, give me five minutes to redesign it!"
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