Re: Proposed Text Flow Attributes for HTML 3.0

Joe English (
Fri, 18 Aug 1995 14:08:47 -0700

Kevin Atkinson <> wrote:

> On Fri, 18 Aug 1995, Benjamin C. W. Sittler wrote:
> > Why clutter up HTML with presentation-control tags and attributes when
> > this can be achieved much more cleanly in a dedicated stylesheet language?
> If that is the case why implement the "align" tag?
------------------------------------------------^^^ "attribute"

Good question.

For some applications -- most notably tables -- whether
the text is flush-left or flush-right is a presentational
issue that is crucial to the proper interpretation of the
information. The same is true for the vertical position
of inlined images with respect to the surrounding text;
that's a property of the image itself, and can't really
be pushed off into stylesheets.

I don't think the same can be said of hanging indents.
I'm not saying that control over the margins and indentation
isn't important -- in fact that's the thing I would most
like to have control over as an author -- it just doesn't
belong in HTML proper.

Neither, really, does the ALIGN attribute on most current
elements; the main argument in favor of it is "Look, if you
insist on adding markup for layout control, at least make
it an attribute on existing structural elements instead
of inventing a new special-purpose <CENTER> tag."

This is all subjective, of course. The current trend in
HTML development is to push as much of the presentation
into external stylesheets as is possible, and keep the
core DTD focussed on structural markup. Whether text
justification, text styles, and colors are "structural" or
"presentational" could be endlessly debated, and I waffle
on this issue myself.

> I proposed this because
> I fell that it is something that should be implamented in all HTML 3.0
> browsers incuding those that don't support style sheets (probably ones like
> future lynx browsers). I think text flow is a little more than than a style
> issue.

What makes you think that lynx *won't* include style sheets?

--Joe English