Re: Sentence MarkUp

Mike Batchelor (
Wed, 26 Jul 1995 14:23:52 -0400 (EDT)

Benjamin C. W. Sittler once wrote...
> What's wrong with P CLASS=whatever is that this information is totally
> unusable by non-stylesheet browsers.
> Please, let's keep <INS>, <DEL>, <SAMP>, etc... the information-type
> elements are far more useful, especially in non-stylesheet browsers, than
> subclassed elements.

<INS>, <DEL> and <SAMP> are unuseable on non-HTML3 browsers. For that
matter, so is the CLASS attribute. And if you believe that CLASS is
useless on non-stylesheet browsers, then you have misunderstood what CLASS
is for. Style sheets are merely one application of the CLASS attribute.
They are useful for precisely the application you have in mind, which is
to further specify the kind of data enclosed within a tag. That
stylesheets can take advantage of this is a happy consequence of a good
idea. Who knows what a 3D VR browser, hooked into your Thesaurus and
running in conjunction with the linguistics expert system embedded in
Windows99, will make of the CLASS attribute. Your pages could look far
more exciting than you can imagine, and you won't have to change a thing.

Here's an experiment: Make up a plain HTML2 document, with sample text
enclosed in each of the HTML2 tags, and have a look at it with as many
browsers as you can. Without prior knowledge of which passage has what
tag, you won't be able to tell the difference *by appearance* between a
large fraction of them, and this is just the small set of unique tags in
HTML2. There is no reason why this would change just because HTML3 is
available. The browsers still have to support rendering the new tags
differently from surrounding text. HTML suggests some renderings, but
they are not requirements. An indexing robot knows the difference,
though, and it doesn't care how it looks in any browser. It's completely

This is not an argument against including <INS>, <DEL> and <SAMP>. I am
simply trying to show why I think the reason you want them included
betrays some amount of misunderstanding about what HTML is trying to

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