Preformatted Text (PRE)

Permitted Context: %Body.Content, %flow, %block
Content Model: subset of %text (see DTD for details)

Preformatted text between the start and end PRE tag is rendered using a fixed with font, in addition whitespace characters are treated literally. The spacing and line breaks are rendered directly, unlike other elements, for which repeated whitespace chararacters are collapsed to a single space character and line breaks introduced automatically.

For example, a verse from Shelley (To a Skylark):

       Higher still and higher
         From the earth thou springest
       Like a cloud of fire;
         The blue deep thou wingest,
And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.</PRE>
which is rendered as:
       Higher still and higher
         From the earth thou springest
       Like a cloud of fire;
         The blue deep thou wingest,
And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.

Permitted Attributes

An SGML identifier used as the target for hypertext links or for naming particular elements in associated style sheets. Identifiers are NAME tokens and must be unique within the scope of the current document.
This is one of the ISO standard language abbreviations, e.g. "" for the variation of English spoken in the United Kingdom. It can be used by parsers to select language specific choices for quotation marks, ligatures and hypenation rules etc. The language attribute is composed from the two letter language code from ISO 639, optionally followed by a period and a two letter country code from ISO 3166.
This a space separated list of SGML NAME tokens and is used to subclass tag names. By convention, the class names are interpreted hierarchically, with the most general class on the left and the most specific on the right, where classes are separated by a period. The CLASS attribute is most commonly used to attach a different style to some element, but it is recommended that where practical class names should be picked on the basis of the element's semantics, as this will permit other uses, such as restricting search through documents by matching on element class names. The conventions for choosing class names are outside the scope of this specification.
This attribute is common to all block-like elements. When text flows around a figure or table in the margin, you sometimes want to start the preformatted text below the figure rather than alongside it. The CLEAR attribute allows you to move down unconditionally:

move down until left margin is clear
move down until right margin is clear
move down until both margins are clear

Alternatively, you can decide to place the element alongside the figure just so long as there is enough room. The minimum width needed is specified as:

clear="40 en"
move down until there is at least 40 en units free
clear="100 pixels"
move down until there is at least 100 pixels free

The style sheet (or browser defaults) may provide default minimum widths for each class of block-like elements.

This is optionally used to specify a width as a number of characters to try and display within the current window width. The user agent can exploit this suggestion to select an appropriate font size. The default is a width of 80 characters. Where the WIDTH attribute is supported, widths of 40, 80 and 132 characters should be presented optimally, with other widths being rounded up.

Can't we get rid of this obsolete nonsense? How many browsers support the WIDTH attribute anyway?