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   Re: xhtml and the p tag

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  • From: "Rick Jelliffe" <ricko@allette.com.au>
  • To: "Mark D. Anderson" <mda@discerning.com>,"XML List" <xml-dev@ic.ac.uk>
  • Date: Tue, 30 Mar 1999 11:44:33 +1000

 From: Mark D. Anderson <mda@discerning.com>

>>In HTML 4.0 a paragraph can only contain an inline element, just the
same as
>>in XHTML
>Right; html is broken too. But I've already given up on html :).
>I'm still curious what a better content model for paragraphs
>would be. (Sorry, i suppose this topic belongs somewhere else
>even if xhtml-related; suggestions are welcome.)

The distinction between text-blocks and rhetorical paragraphs is the
oldest problem in markup.

It is sad that HTML calls visual text blocks paragraphs, but should not
be surprising or particularly troubling (it will just make it impossible
to detect rhetorical paragraphs programatically from HTML documents.)

The best solution is to wrap the real paragraphs in a div element:
 <div class="para">
   <p class="paracont">...<p>
where para cont means "paragraph contiunuation".

Now that we have XSL, it is probably a good thing if HTML errs on the
side of being display-structure oriented. That is why the ruby draft
(which is all wrong if we want HTML to support logical markup) is
probably appropriate for HTML now.

Actually, there is even a higher level of paragraph, the "paragraph
group", which is found in some kinds of documents (military and
technical), which is where a paragraph grows a numer, a heading (often
inline), footnotes and even metadata. (The reasons for this, you can
find in my book, The XML and SGML Cookbook: basically the idea is that
when an information block is self-contained or extractable, it naturally
becomes a microdocument, getting all the accoutrements of a doument--a
head an body, title, etc.)

Rick Jelliffe

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