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Re: @quotation and @indentedblock in html and DocBook

From: Gavin Smith
Subject: Re: @quotation and @indentedblock in html and DocBook
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2014 15:41:40 +0000

On Wed, Dec 17, 2014 at 10:42 PM, Karl Berry <address@hidden> wrote:
> I am aware that W3C wants everyone to use CSS for everything, but my
> experience with what works best is different, and I don't think it's a
> good idea to just do things because W3C says so.
> Using basic HTML tags like <blockquote> that have been around since the
> early years, even though W3C does not like them, is what has proven to
> work best with the most people for the most browsers in the most
> situations.  It is irrelevant that W3C wants to get rid of them, because
> in practice browsers cannot remove them without breaking a substantial
> proportion of the web, which would presumably result in their losing all
> their users in short order.

Producing an indent with <blockquote> certainly seems simpler than using CSS.

We don't have to follow standards, indeed. There could be good reasons
for the standards we should consider, for example using semantic
output could allow better accessibility by disabled people using
special software or something (I haven't researched what screen
reading software does in the case of <blockquote>, I would guess it
would probably work fine). It could also allow customization by the
user of the browser to add their own stylings to all webpages. Also it
might help some kind of automated processing of output HTML files,
e.g. extracting all of the quotations (that doesn't seem very useful,
but there might be better examples).

> Thus, I think the time to use CSS is when, and only when, the necessary
> effect cannot be achieved at all without it.  As we do now with
> font-family:inherit for example.
> (BTW, does lynx/etc. render CSS?)

I just tried the HTML output for @indentedblock in Lynx 2.8.7rel.1,
and surprisingly the @indentedblock was indented (although by a
different number of spaces to that used for <blockquote>). However,
some other commands like @display were not - this could have been
because the @display output was in a <pre> tag.

>     It is not just @indentedblock; all of preformatted block commands,
>     like @example, also are output as a <div> and indented with CSS.
> But it seems to me that Per's point is that @indentedblock in Texinfo is
> just like @quotation except indented only on the left instead of both
> margins.  So it makes sense for them to be output using the same tag.
> People certainly (ab)use @quotation in Texinfo just like <blockquote> in
> Neither of these are "preformatted" blocks.

What @example, @display, etc., have in common with @indentedblock is
that they should be indented, and that they are currently indented
with CSS instead of being put in a <blockquote>. If we want to avoid
relying on CSS when possible then we should consider using
<blockquote> for these other commands as well.

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