Re: Spaces and Tabs in HTML documents

Tim Berners-Lee (
Wed, 16 Jun 93 09:42:22 +0200

>Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1993 23:20:56 -0500
>From: Tony Sanders <>
>How about having two <PRE> style tags. One works just like existing
>and another tag that (probably) doesn't use the fixed-width font but
>preserves spaces and tabs as much as possible and allows full HTML
>It will be the task of the browser to make this look good.

I am sceptical. The significance of HT (the character)
in PRE (the element) is to go to the "next" tab stop
after the current position.
If you don't know the relative font sizes, you can't predict
where you will be, and so what the next stop will be.
Any tabbing arrangement which allows variable width
characters must therefore change the significance to
"go to the left most tab stop you haven't used so far"
and wrap the text when it reaches a tab stop by itself.
Now we have tables. And when we have tables, we will need
lines in them of various types, and column headings and
things. And it will be good but it won't be tabs.

>shooting ourselves in the foot. SGML bigots are missing the big
>99.999% of the existing data *doesn't have* semantic information and
>one gives a shaving cream about it; we just want it online and some
of us
>would like to access it via hypertext.

Nicely put! :-)
HTML has to bridge between the 99.999% and rendering-
free SGML whose justification we also all know.