"plain" element for HTML/XHTML

Clark C. Evans clark.evans at manhattanproject.com
Wed Jan 5 23:12:13 GMT 2000

Dear XHTML Working Group,

  I would like to propose a new element, "plain", which
  has no attributes, and forbids any content other than
  zero or more characters.  The "plain" element would be
  another alternation in the BNF text production.

  Thus, the following mixed-content HTML:

  Would be "display equivalent" to:



  1. This would allow the data structures for an HTML
     processor/editor to avoid "text node type" and
     its related mixed-content issues.  

  2. The <plain> tag is both forward and backwards 


  I've been involved with numerous discussions over the
  last month on the sml-dev list over the complications
  that are created using mixed-content.  Specifically,
  how text nodes are difficult to manage programmatically
  through DOM.  I've also experienced a good deal of pain
  with regard to this problem myself.  

  On the sml-dev list, we've come up with an information 
  model that avoids mixed-content issues by allowing a
  node to either have one or more characters, or zero or
  more child nodes, but not both.   We would like to
  be able use HTML from our SML model.

  Also, since I am currently able to use the <plain>
  tag on the bulk of browsers today, this is a workable
  solution that has been implemented and tested.
  It would be great to have the tag name reserved as
  part of the HTML standard.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Clark C. Evans

P.S.  If you are interested in issues like this
please visit the sml-dev mailing list at egroups.com 

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