[Standards-JIG] XHTML further simplification

Byron Ellacott bje at apnic.net
Tue Sep 21 23:05:37 UTC 2004

I'm cheating and combining two replies in one, both to the same original
poster.  The stuff I don't reply to is the stuff I agree with. :)

Trejkaz Xaoza wrote:
> On Tue, 21 Sep 2004 12:47, Byron Ellacott wrote:
>>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?

My point here was that one valid interpretation of the JEP is to render
"<p>foo</p><p>bar</p>" with no vertical whitespace between "foo" and
"bar" -- and with HTML4.01/XHTML1's rule that empty <p/> elements must
be stripped, this leaves no other way to insert a blank line.

It sure is bad XHTML style: if I wanted extra padding or margin on the
bottom of a box, I would use padding- or margin-bottom.  But good XHTML
style isn't what's under discussion. :)

> In addition to this, the following rather trite response could apply: "We're 
> using CSS everywhere else... aren't there width and height properties in CSS 
> already?"

Yes, there are.  But they're not in the current Recommended Style
Properties set, and if they were added, they would have to be restricted
to <img/> elements alone, and would convey no extra information over
width and height attributes.

> At least that's what the W3C seemed to think... the width and height 
> properties are going away _entirely_ in XHTML2 (along with the <img/> tag 
> itself... but we can ignore this, since we seem to prefer <img/> to the more 
> useful <object/> here.)

The W3C is correctly noting that width and height are visual style
properties, not structural properties, and that an image is either a
visual style decorative property, or an embedded object with an image's
content-type, not a structural entity of its own accord.

Since this JEP is dealing primarily with lightweight visual style
properties, and is expressly not separating style from structure, this
reason for using width and height style properties instead of width and
height attributes is inapplicable.

The key thing to note here is that the JEP is trying to fit XHTML to
serve the requirements of IM.  As Ian said better than I have. ;)

(From another message)

> That brings up an interesting thought.  Suppose I wanted a thick red line down 
> the left of the quote.  Does adding "border: 2px solid red;" to the above 
> styles ensure that the border won't break between the <p/> and the <ol/>?  If 
> so, then good, we don't need <div/>.  If not, then we need <div/>.

If you put that in a JEP-0071 XHTML-IM message, it will likely be
ignored anyway, as "border" is not a recommended style.

Further, if you think it's important that XHTML-IM include a mechanism 
for distinguishing quoted text from new text, it would be unwise to 
leave the distinction up to each client's author(s).  Rather, you should 
be arguing for the return of the <blockquote/> element such that clients 
may render all quoted sections the same.  There's a perfectly good 
structural element for this, let's not emulate it with visual style 
properties! :)

(Imagine how uncomfortable it would be to have two active conversations, 
one of which is using "border-left: 2px solid red" and the other 
"font-style: italic; font-size: 115%;")

(And, I'm not convinced that the IM paradigm necessitates quoting an 
original message.)


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