Re: Erm, is HTML content or presentation based?

Mike Batchelor (
Sun, 6 Aug 1995 23:37:49 -0400 (EDT)

R J Partington once wrote...
> (Forgive me if I make horrendous blunders... please...)
> Isn't HTML supposed to be content, rather than presentation, based?
> That is, you describe the *content* of a document, rather than how
> it looks? This then gives you a `better' document because then
> (assuming you did it right) you can get a list of variables easily
> because they're surrounded by <var></var> pairs?
> If so, (referring to Joe English's message about the new HTML 3
> features being supported), why does HTML 3 seem to be tending toward
> the presentation-specifying `model'? I can't see how the <center>
> tag is part of a content-based document, or how

<center> does not exist in any W3O working group proposal. Strictly
speaking, it doesn't exist at all, since Netscape has never given us a
DTD to describe it. HTML v3 proposes the ALIGN attribute, which can be
given to any tag, and which can take several values, one of which is
"center". Remove the ALIGN attributes, and you still have the same
structural markup.

> > <UL SRC="greenball.gif">

If you ignore the src="greenbal.gif", the element is still a <ul>.

> is either. To me, these just seem like pure presentation `niceties'.
> Similarly the
> > <HR src="redline.gif">

If you ignore the src="redline.gif", the element is still a <hr>.

> Is this a consequence of the Netscape monopoly, whereby Netscapisms
> are virtually forced into HTML 3 onwards purely because of the number
> of people who've used them rather than there being a need for them?

I think Netascape would like to think so.

> Or have I got this totally the wrong way around?

You can't ignore some of the popular Netscape tags without ignoring some
structural markup, too. HTML v3 attributes can all safely be ignored
without affecting the structure of the document in any way at all.

> rob -- a confused www-html list reader

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