Re: Whitespace

Scott W Brim (
Thu, 13 Jan 1994 12:41:08 -0500

At 9:47 1/13/94 -0600, Kenneth Chang wrote:
>The fundamental paradox of this issue is
>* Document authors want to specify the appearance of their documents.
>* Users want to configure their browsers.

Just to add a third category: I'm a document author who is just very
happy to find one format that everyone can use and has flexibility to
do unexpected things in the future. I come from dealing with
situations like RFCs, where we currently either use 7-bit text or
incompatible postscript. The lowest common denominator for HTML's
final appearance looks pretty good to me (well, RFCs do need FIGs).
Give me Headings and a small set of emphases and I'll be thoroughly

>This results in strange contradictions, such as in MacMosaic, where for
>each heading tag, you can specify the font and font size (control by user),
>but _not_ the font style (because the developers thought this should be
>controlled by the document author through <B> and <I>).

I think this is the right approach.

>If you want a system where a document can be rendered reasonably across not
>only a range of different platforms, but different _configurations_ of a
>given browser, then document authors have to accept limited layout tools
>and trust the browser to do the presentation.

Exactly, and I am impressed with the high quality of the major
browsers. They have earned your trust.

>At some point, WWW developers need to come to some sort of consensus about
>which of these two is more important.

Page designers are frustrated that they can't control the psychological
effect of their work on the reader. The Web and browsers shouldn't
have to change -- the page designers should change, should see the new
situation as an opportunity for doing things differently. We might
actually get back to a situation where content is more important than
presentation. Let's stand our ground.

... Scott