Another pennyworth on layout issues
18 Jan 94 8:55

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Subject: Another pennyworth on layout issues

I fully support trying to remain at the semantic level in mark-up, but I
believe that horizontal and vertical white space is frequently used to
indicate semantic boundaries (for example, "have a nice day" is very
different from a skating rink advert saying "have an ice day") not just
for "prettiness".

I recently complained on a different list that

some text <i>and italic text</i> some more text

was rendered with one space after the italic text by Mosaic, and with
two by Cello. (I was asserting that Cello in this case had it wrong).
I was told that I should remove the space after the </i>!

At the very least, browser writers need to agree on things such as this,
but it would actually be better if the HTML+ spec addressed this area in
at least terms of guidance.

So I reinforce the need to clearly specify when an element causes a
vertical break before and/or after itself. Also to make clear that
"<P><P><P>" is exactly equivalent to "<P>", and that a "<P>" at a point
where a vertical break has been forced by an adjacent element has no
effect, and that elements like <b> and </i> do not in themselves cause
word (horizontal) breaks.

The vertical break issue produces another difference between Cello and
Mosaic in the formatting of:

Some text <pre> spaces </pre> some more text.

In this case I think I regard Cello as correct.

Anyway, my plea is for recognition that consistency on the insertion of
vertical breaks and/or horizontal breaks (spaces) around elements is
needed, and that clear guidance should be present in the HTML+
definition, irrespective of "religious" issues of what is page layout
and what is semantically significant formatting.

John L