Re: FOOTNOTE element

Matt Heffron (
Fri, 10 Mar 1995 19:47:30 +0500

> Murray Altheim wrote:
>Joe and Michael make good points about footnotes, but I tend to agree
>that keeping the language simple is paramount to continued success of
>the web. If a browser doesn't understand the footnote tag, what would
>happen? Just stuff the entire contents of the footnote inappropriately
>into the document at the point of footnote?
>I hope I haven't missed a prior part of this discussion, but rather than
>create a new tag, why not add an attribute like "FOOTNOTE" to the
>existing <A> tag that would allow a browser to either go to the HREF
>link, or just use it to pop the text of the HREF into a floating window?
>I think this might satisfy the requirement without creating any extra
>complications or tags. Existing browsers would ignore the attribute and
>use the HREF normally. This would still require footnotes to become
>separate documents, but would at least allow authors to specify usage.

No it wouldn't require separate documents! You could include the footnote in
the parent document, if you wanted, and refer to <a href="#fn3" FOOTNOTE>3</a>
for example. Ahh, but what if there are several footnotes, how does the
browser know how much of what follows the <a name="fn3"> is actually part of
footnote number 3?
Is there any reason that the individual footnotes' text couldn't be terminated
with </a name="fn3">?? (It could default to ending the individual note's text
on the next <a name...>.) A sophisticated browser could notice that the "fn3"
section was referred to in a footnote, and extract it from the parent document
before display (or optionally leave it where it found it.) Perhaps, the
<a name=""> could have a "NOTETEXT" attribute which says to suppress this text
here if the browser has extracted the text to a pop-up, otherwise leave it
here. You could even have a separate footnotes file, containing all of the
footnotes for a document (or set of documents), that could still be used as
pop-up notes.

This would seem to address several of the issues raised re: footnotes.


Matt Heffron            
Beckman Instruments, Inc.         voice: (714) 961-3128
2500 N. Harbor Blvd. MS X-10, Fullerton, CA 92634-3100
I don't speak for Beckman Instruments (or CRFG) unless they say so.