Re: Wish List for New Spec

Ben Breakstone (
Wed, 27 Dec 95 18:11:01 EST

Hello! Yet another lurker speaks up, though this one happens to believe
HTML is still primarily a text/semantic structuring system, rather than a
page description one (isn't that what PostScript is for?). Anyhow, I
thought I'd chime in my $0.02 worth of Xmas wishes for HTML. I may be the
only one in the world who cares about the first wish, but I consider it
most important nonetheless. Here are my three wishes.

I believe the absence of typesetter's (or "curly," or "smart") quotation
marks from the english HTML entity set to be a grievous omission.

There are two main reasons for this. The first reason is that
aesthetically, the straight ("dumb") quotes always look cursedly ugly,
especially at large type sizes. The accepted practice in typsetting is to
use straight quotation marks only for foot and inch descriptions: 6' 7"
tall. In a good serif typeface, typesetter's quotation marks are
infinitely more beautiful than the straight, blocky variety.

The second reason is semantic: typsetter's quotation marks carry much more
information than the other kind. The direction of single or double "smart
quotes" indicates whether they begin or end a block of speech, or whether a
single mark is acting as an apostrophe. "Dumb quotes," on the other hand,
provide no clue as to their context. Could those of us who write code get
along with just one generic parenthesis or curly brace, substituting for
both left and right?

I know the issue of an expanded entity set has been touched on before on
this list. I think I've also seen left and right curved quotes in the SGML
entity set... (my PPP's a long distance charge from here, so I'm not going
to check). Perhaps someone who's been here longer could explain why this
feature didn't make it in along with the rest of the added latin set.

My second wish is a document listing the currently accepted <LINK>
relations and the expected browser behavior for each. (And is is
REL="MADE" or REL=MADE? Is a "mailto:" URL an acceptable link for all
LINKs?> This probably already exists somewhere, but I haven't been able to
find it. Can someone here point me?

Finally, I'd wish for someone with far, far better coding skills than mine
to write a worm to consume all <BLINK> tags. But that may be a bit too
invasive for Santa's elves to ethically provide. Heh.

Anyhow, a merry Christmas, a happy Chanukah, a joyous Kwanzaa, a lovely
Three Kings' Day, and a bountiful Boxing Day to all. Plus any others I
left out. (Please excuse my verbosity. The fruitcake must have some odd

Warm holiday wishes,

Ben Breakstone
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