Re: Much ado about P [Was: Revised Beginner's Guide to HTML...]

Kenneth Chang (
Tue, 19 Apr 94 20:55:19 CDT

>In message <199404192318.QAA01132@rock>, John Labovitz writes:
>>Daniel W. Connolly said:
>>> I agree that nothing in this primer should conflict with HTML
>>> specifications. I suggested to Mr. Chang that he encourage the use
>>> of <P> at the beginning rather than then end of paragraphs
>>That doesn't work so well in lynx (2.2). An example:
>> <H1>header</H1>
>> <P>an elephant
>> <P>a zebra
>>Lynx puts extra space between the header and the first paragraph.
>Lynx is broken. ;-)

For the record, MacMosaic is "broken," too.

>I wish we could get all the implementors
>in a room and do rock-scissors-paper to decide how this is going to work.
>There are lots of arguments out there, but none of them is very convincing.

Sounds good to me. I'm just trying to interpret what everyone else has done. :)

And, while we're at it,
* <KBD> should be BOLD Courier
* <DFN> should be italics

(for those browsers with styled text, of course).
(End of personal list of gripes with Web browser formatting oddities.)

As the current reviser of the Beginner's Guide to HTML, the problem of <P>
for me is:

* for conformance with HTML+ and some DTDs of HTML, <P> should be a
beginning of paragraph marker.
* A non-trivial number of Web browsers use <P> as a paragraph separator.

Which would to lead to awkwardnesses such as
"You should do this, but your browser will muck it up.
But do it anyway, because it is good for you."

My compromise is to
* document <P> vis a vis its current usage as a paragraph separator.
* note its future conversion to a container

--ken chang
NCSA Publications