Re: SPaces and Tabs in HTML documents

Tim Berners-Lee (
Mon, 14 Jun 93 11:08:28 +0200

>Date: Sun, 13 Jun 1993 15:21:03 +0200
>So far as I can tell, the HTML specification makes no mention of how
>duplicated spaces and tabs are to be treated in HTML documents.

You are right. Actually tabs are mentioned in the PRE part, but
nowhere else. The general understanding (before Mosaic) was that

- Multiple spaces should be respected as such (for example
some people like them around punctuation) and should not
be used for prettying up the source.

- Tabs should not be used outside PRE

- Within PRE, tabs are normal unix
(>0 spaces to multiple of 8)

I would like to specify that multiple spaces be interpreted as such.
Would this be a big problem for anyone?

There are a number of documents on the net which look very weird
with non-mosaic browsers -- when I come across a bad one, I
occasionally mail the author.

In a year's time I expect much more HTML to be generated from wysiwyg
editors, and so the question of eth readability of the source won't
be relevant.

Of course, you can put in all the source pretty formatting you like
but if you once touch it with a wysiwyg editor, you'll probably lose
it all anyway.

> <p> Also, the two browsers have different ideas about whether
> ADDRESS tag marks a new paragraph or not -- www puts the
> flush right in a new paragraph, Mosaic simply switches to a
> different typeface.

There is in the hypertext document (and in the draft internet draft)
a "typical rendering" defined for each of these elements. Browsers
are not obliged to use this rendering. In the case of Mosaic, as far
as I can see, nothing is ever justified other than left-justfied.
That may be just the desiner's choice or a constraint of the
implementation. It doesn't make them an invalid W3 browser, just
not a typical one. (Even though there may be -- untill Cello gets
seriouslsy deployed -- more XMosaics than anything other W3 clients)

The ideal would be to make the styles user-configurable, with the
"typical rendering" and the designer's personal favorites
as an options.

> Damian