Re: assorted HTML and SGML questions

lilley (
Mon, 20 Nov 1995 13:00:10 +0000 (GMT)

Joe Wells said:

> This is what I mean, except that it more commonly takes one of these
> forms:
> <p><p><p><p>
> <p><hr>
> <p><ul><li>text text<p><li>more text</ul>

Well firstly, the original (CERN, TimBL) description of <P> referred to
it as a paragraph separator, and a lot of net.mythos has grown up in
the interim that promulgates this view.

Also, browsers don't complain much about extra <p> elements, so beginners put
them in "for luck" in all sorts of places:

text text text



On being asked why they put in the <p>, they will typically say "because
I had finished the paragraph" or "to make the subheading start on a new
line" (or, more commonly "dunno").On being asked to remove it, for example
bon being told the <h2> will do that anyway, they will typically say
"why? it doesn't seem to hurt?"

The other reason you will see spurious <p> is pages which use Netscape
extensions, in particular left or right aligned images. Throwing in a
couple of <p>s adds enough vertical space (in their browser with their
fonts and window size) to make the next bit of text start under the
image instead of alongside it ;-(

A third reason is that some browsers - Netscape 1.1N for X being one
example that springs to mind - give different presentation depending
on the presence or absence of omissible tags. For example;

<p>stuff <hr>
<p>stuff </p><hr>

The second example is more widely spaced, although both give the same
parse tree.

Chris Lilley, Technical Author and JISC representative to W3C 
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