Re: Fate of <P> [Was: Toward Closure on HTML]

Chris Lilley, Computer Graphics Unit (
Fri, 8 Apr 1994 13:54:35 GMT

Marc wrote:

>Brian Behlendorf writes:

>> Or maybe I'm just worried about the 500 HTML pages I'd have to update
>> to account for this </P> daemon.

>You won't. Nobody will adopt it should it actually appear. (I'm not
>being belligerent, I'm just stating a fact

Unless you have a validated crystal ball implementation, you are stating an
opinion. Perhaps based on wide experience, but an opinion none the less.

>-- document creators won't go for it.)

You mean, creators of existing documents won't update or creators of existing
documents won't change for new documents or new creators of documents won't
adopt the new usage ;-)

If the tutorials are updated - and one of them already describes the <p> ...
</p> form, which is already accepted by Mosaic for X - new users will clearly
use the new form because they will not know any different. Users of conversion
tools will use the new form without realising it because their tools will use
the new form. Users of less primitive tools than a straight text editor will use
the new form because they will not see actually type in the tags themselves.

I see no reason why existing html authors will not accept the change for new
documents. It is trivial and makes the <p> tag consistent with other tags.

And all us html writers are the crest of a new wave, hip to the future, right?
So describing the old form as 'obselete', 'old-style', 'deprecated' and 'still
supported for backwards compatibility' will be a potent use of our fashion
victim status to encourage us to change ;-) ;-)

That leaves existing documents.

Ones that have been converted, eg from LaTeX or Frame, can be re-converted using
newer versions of ht ese tools - which will happen anyway to documents that are
being maintatained.

For manually written documents, a widely available awk script to update them
would be a help here. Documents that are actively being maintained or re-used
for other purposes will likely (IMHO) be converted. Others will not.

Whether you see this as a problem depends on whether you see the current mass of
web documents as being a substantial proportion of the web in, say, 5 years
time, or whether you see them as merely the tip of the iceberg. I tend to the
latter view.

Chris Lilley
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