Proposed extensions to HTML

Murray Maloney (
Thu, 17 Nov 1994 15:37:19 -0500 (EST)

Hi all,

I saw the following article posted on comp.infosystems.www.misc

Unfortunately it was posted from an "anonymous contact service",
so it is not possible to know who posted it. I assume that it
had to come from someone at Netscape Communications; I hope
an appropriate person will join this discussion in due course.

Anyway, I was hoping that we could get a discussion started.
I see alot of merit in some/many of the extensions proposed here.
I also see some things which I would have done differently.

I am deliberately not posting this on the html-wg list for now.
That mailing list is busy dealing with last minute revisions
to the HTML 2.0 specification for submission at the IETF
meeting in San Jose (Dec 5, 1994).

I have deliberately not posted my response back to the newsgroup
as it has way too much traffic for me to be able to consider
participating in a discussion in that forum. This mail list,
on the other hand, is much more manageable. If you don't agree,
then by all means take it back to comp.infosystems.www.misc
and I will simply have to drop out of the discussion.

I will be posting my comments about these proposed changes
at a later date.



Murray C. Maloney Internet:
Technical Publications Writer/Architect Uucp: ...uunet!sco!murray
SCO Canada, Inc. My Phone: (416) 960-4031
130 Bloor Street West, 10th Floor Fax: (416) 922-2704
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 1N5 SCO Phone: (416) 922-1937
Sponsor member of Davenport Group (
Member of IETF HTML Working Group (
Member of SGML Open Internet and WWW Technical Committee

Forwarded message:
> Message-ID: <>
> Newsgroups: comp.infosystems.www.misc
> From:
> X-Anonymously-To: comp.infosystems.www.misc
> Organization: Anonymous contact service
> Reply-To:
> Date: Sat, 12 Nov 1994 04:44:57 UTC
> Subject: MCOM html extensions
> Lines: 223
> These are proposed extensions to the soon to be released HTML 2.0
> specification. Mosaic Communications will be working with the
> appropriate standards bodys, including W3O, and the authors of other
> WWW browsers in an attempt to have these extensions available in all
> browsers in the near future. All the Netscape extensions to HTML
> take the form of additional tags and attributes added to the HTML
> specification and are specifically designed not to break existing WWW
> browsers.
> To the ISINDEX element we have added the PROMPT tag. ISINDEX
> indicates that a document is a searchable index. PROMPT has
> been added so the document author can specify what message they
> want to appear before the text input field of the index. The
> default is of course that unfortunate message: This is a
> searchable index. Enter search keywords:
> <HR>
> The HR element specifies that a horizontal rule of some sort
> (The default being a shaded engraved line) be drawn across the
> page. To this element we have added 4 new tags to allow the
> document author some ability to describe how the horizontal
> rule should look.
> <HR SIZE=number>
> The SIZE tag lets the author give an indication of how
> thick they wish the horizontal rule to be.
> <HR WIDTH=number|percent>
> The default horizontal rule is always as wide as the
> page. With the WIDTH tag, the author can specify an exact
> width in pixels, or a relative width measured in percent
> of document width.
> <HR ALIGN=left|right|center>
> Now that horizontal rules do not have to be the width of
> the page we need to allow the author to specify whether
> they should be pushed up against the left margin, the
> right margin, or centered in the page.
> Finally, for those times when you really want a solid
> bar, the NOSHADE tag lets you specify that you do not
> want any fancy shading of your horizontal rule.
> <UL>
> Your basic bulleted list has a default progression of bullet
> types that changes as you move through indented levels. From a
> solid disc, to a circle to a square. We have added a TYPE tag
> to the UL element so no matter what your indent level you can
> specify whether you want a TYPE=disc, TYPE=circle, or
> TYPE=square as your bullet.
> <OL>
> Your average ordered list counts 1, 2, 3, ... etc. We have also
> added the TYPE tag to this element to allow authors to specify
> whether the want their list items marked with: capital letters
> (TYPE=A), small letters (TYPE=a), large roman numerals
> (TYPE=I), small roman numerals (TYPE=i), or the default numbers
> (TYPE=1).
> For lists that wish to start at values other than 1 we have the
> new tag START. START is always specified in the default
> numbers, and will be converted based on TYPE before display.
> Thus START=5 would display either an 'E', 'e', 'V', 'v', or '5'
> based on the TYPE tag.
> <LI>
> To give even more flexibility to lists, we thought it would be
> nice if the author could change the list type, and for ordered
> lists the list count index as they progressed. To this end we
> added the TYPE tag to the LI element as well. It takes the same
> values as either UL or OL depending on the type of list you are
> in, and it changes the list type for that item, and all
> subsequent items. For ordered lists we have also added the
> VALUE element so you can change the count, for that list item
> and all subsequent.
> <IMG>
> The IMG tag is probably the most extended tag.
> <IMG
> ALIGN=left|right|top|texttop|middle|absmiddle|baseline|botto
> m|absbottom>
> The additions to your ALIGN options needs a lot of
> explanation. First, the values "left" and "right". Images
> with those alignments are an entirely new floating
> image type. A ALIGN=left image will float down and over
> to the left margin (into the next available space there),
> and subsequent text will wrap around the right hand side
> of that image. Likewise for ALIGN=right the image aligns
> with the right margin, and the text wraps around the
> left.
> The rest of the align options are my way of trying to
> correct for the horrible errors I made when first
> implementing the IMG tag, without destroying the look of
> existing documents. ALIGN=top does just what it always
> did, which is align itself with the top of the tallest
> item in the line. ALIGN=texttop does what many people
> thought top should do which is align itself with the top
> of the tallest text in the line (this is usually but not
> always the same as ALIGN=top). ALIGN=middle does just
> what it always did, it aligns the baseline of the current
> line with the middle of the image. ALIGN=absmiddle does
> what middle should have done which is align the middle of
> the current line with the middle of the image.
> ALIGN=baseline aligns the bottom of the image with the
> baseline of the current line. ALIGN=bottom does just what
> it always did (which is identical to ALIGN=baseline but
> baseline is a better name). ALIGN=absbottom does what
> bottom should have done which is align the bottom of the
> image with the bottom of the current line.
> <IMG WIDTH=value HEIGHT=value>
> The WIDTH and HEIGHT tags were added to IMG mainly to
> speed up display of the document. If the author specifies
> these, the viewer of their document will not have to wait
> for the image to be loaded over the network and its size
> calculated.
> <IMG BORDER=value>
> This lets the document author control the thickness of
> the border around an image displayed. Warning: setting
> BORDER=0 on images that are also part of anchors may
> confuse your users as they are used to a colored border
> indicating an image is an anchor.
> <IMG VSPACE=value HSPACE=value>
> For the floating images it is likely that the author
> does not want them pressing up against the text wrapped
> around the image. VSPACE controls the vertical space
> above and below the image, while HSPACE controls the
> horizontal space to the left and right of the image.
> <BR>
> With the addition of floating images, we needed to expand the
> BR tag. Normal BR still just inserts a line break. We have
> added a CLEAR tag to BR, so CLEAR=left will break the line, and
> move vertically down until you have a clear left margin (no
> floating images). CLEAR=right does the same for the right
> margin, and CLEAR=all moves down until both margins are clear
> of images.
> New Elements
> <NOBR>
> The NOBR element stands for NO BReak. This means all the text
> between the start and end of the NOBR elements cannot have line
> breaks inserted between them. While NOBR is essential for those
> odd character sequences you really don't want broken, please be
> careful; long text strings inside of NOBR elements can look
> rather odd.
> <WBR>
> The WBR element stands for Word BReak. This is for the very
> rare case when you have a NOBR section and you know exactly
> where you want it to break. Also, any time you want to give
> Netscape help by telling it where a word is allowed to be
> broken. The WBR element does not force a line break (BR does
> that) it simply lets Netscape know where a line break is
> allowed to be inserted if needed.
> <FONT SIZE=value>
> Surprise! You can change the font size. Valid values range from
> 1-7. The default font size is 3. The value given to size can
> optionally have a '+' or '-' character in front of it to
> specify that it is relative the the document basefont. The
> default basefont is 3, and can be changed with the BASEFONT
> element.
> This changes the size of the BASEFONT that all relative font
> changes are based on. It defaults to 3, and has a valid range
> of 1-7.
> You aren't dreaming, yes you can center your text. All lines of
> text between the begin and end of CENTER are centered between
> the current left and right margins. A new tag has been
> introduced rather than using the proposed <P Align="center">
> because using <P Align="center"> breaks many existing browsers
> when the <P> tag is used as a container. The <P Align="center">
> tag is also less general and does not support all cases where
> centering may be desired.
> Behavioral Changes
> Font attributes are now properly cumulative. Text inside something
> like
> <i><tt><font size=6><b>Text here</b></font></tt></i>
> will be italic fixed bold text of size 6.
> Netscape should now properly deal with the awful HTML comment
> sequence. This should be: <!-- Comment here --> These comments can
> include other elements, and thus be used to quickly comment out large
> chunks of markup.
> Line breaking is a little more under control now. Unless specified
> with a formatting element, lines can only be broken where empty space
> occurs in the original document. This means any spaces, tabs, or
> newlines. You should never again have the sequence <A HREF=url>Anchor
> here</A>. broken between the highlighted anchor and the period.
> New Entities
> In addition to the [1]usual & escaped entities:
> &reg; -> Registered Trademark -> &reg;
> &copy; -> Copyright -> &copy;
> _________________________________________________________________
> [2]
> Copyright &copy; 1994 Mosaic Communications Corporation.
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