Appendix A: Changes


  1. Changes between HTML 3.2 and HTML 4.0
    1. Changes to elements
    2. Changes to attributes
    3. Changes for accessibility
    4. Changes for meta data
    5. Changes for text
    6. Changes for links
    7. Changes for tables
    8. Changes for images, objects, and image maps
    9. Changes for forms
    10. Changes for style sheets
    11. Changes for frames
    12. Changes for scripting
    13. Changes for internationalization
  2. Changes from the 18 December 1997 specification
    1. Errors that were corrected
    2. Minor typographical errors that were corrected

A.1 Changes between HTML 3.2 and HTML 4.0

A.1.1 Changes to elements

New elements 


Deprecated elements 

The following elements are deprecated: APPLET, BASEFONT, CENTER, DIR, FONT, ISINDEX, MENU, STRIKE, and U.

Obsolete elements 

The following elements are obsolete: LISTING, PLAINTEXT, and XMP. For all of them, authors should use the PRE element instead.

A.1.2 Changes to attributes

A.1.3 Changes for accessibility

HTML 4.0 features many changes to promote accessibility, including:

A.1.4 Changes for meta data

Authors may now specify profiles that provide explanations about meta data specified with the META or LINK elements.

A.1.5 Changes for text

A.1.6 Changes for links

A.1.7 Changes for tables

The HTML 4.0 table model has grown out of early work on HTML+ and the initial draft of HTML3.0. The earlier model has been extended in response to requests from information providers as follows:

The HTML 4.0 table model also satisfies requests for optional column-based defaults for alignment properties, more flexibility in specifying table frames and rules, and the ability to align on designated characters. It is expected, however, that style sheets will take over the task of rendering tables in the near future.

In addition, a major goal has been to provide backwards compatibility with the widely deployed Netscape implementation of tables. Another goal has been to simplify importing tables conforming to the SGML CALS model. The latest draft makes the align attribute compatible with the latest versions of the most popular browsers. Some clarifications have been made to the role of the dir attribute and recommended behavior when absolute and relative column widths are mixed.

A new element, COLGROUP, has been introduced to allow sets of columns to be grouped with different width and alignment properties specified by one or more COL elements. The semantics of COLGROUP have been clarified over previous drafts, and rules="basic" replaced by rules="groups".

The style attribute is included as a means for extending the properties associated with edges and interiors of groups of cells. For instance, the line style: dotted, double, thin/thick etc; the color/pattern fill for the interior; cell margins and font information. This will be the subject for a companion specification on style sheets.

The frame and rules attributes have been modified to avoid SGML name clashes with each other, and to avoid clashes with the align and valign attributes. These changes were additionally motivated by the desire to avoid future problems if this specification is extended to allow frame and rules attributes with other table elements.

A.1.8 Changes for images, objects, and image maps

A.1.9 Changes for forms

This specification introduces several new attributes and elements that affect forms:

A.1.10 Changes for style sheets

HTML 4.0 supports a larger set of media descriptors so that authors may write device-sensitive style sheets.

A.1.11 Changes for frames

HTML 4.0 supports frame documents and inline frames.

A.1.12 Changes for scripting

Many elements now feature event attributes that may be coupled with scripts; the script is executed when the event occurs (e.g., when a document is loaded, when the mouse is clicked, etc.).

A.1.13 Changes for internationalization

HTML 4.0 integrates the recommendations of [RFC2070] for the internationalization of HTML.

However, this specification and [RFC2070] differ as follows:

A.2 Changes from the 18 December 1997 specification

This section describes how this version of the HTML 4.0 specification differs from the previous version released on 18 December 1997.

A.2.1 Errors that were corrected

Section 2.1.1
"" was said to designate the current HTML specification. The current HTML specification is actually at
Section 7.5.2
The hypertext link on name was incorrect. It now links to types.html#type-name.
Section 7.5.4
href was listed as an attribute of the DIV and SPAN elements. It is not.
Section 7.5.6
A P element was used in the example. It is invalid in ADDRESS.
Section 8.1
In the first example, which reads "Her super-powers were the result...", there was an extra double quote mark before the word "Her".
Section 9.3.4
The attribute width was not noted as deprecated.
Section 11.2.4, "Calculating the width of columns"
The sentence "We have set the value of the align attribute in the third column group to 'center'" read "second" instead of "third".
Section 11.2.6, "Cells that span several rows or columns"
The second paragraph read "In this table definition, we specify that the cell in row four, column two should span a total of three columns, including the current row." It now ends "...including the current column."
Section 13.2
The sentence beginning "User agents must render alternate text when they cannot support ..." read "next", instead of "text".
Section 13.6.2
The last sentence of the second paragraph applied to both the IMG and INPUT elements. However, the ismap attribute is not defined for INPUT. The sentence now only applies to IMG.
Section 14.2.3
The title attribute for the STYLE element was not listed as an attribute defined elsewhere.
Section 14.3.2
The second example set title="Compact". It now sets title="compact".
Section 15.1.2
The sentence ending "the align attribute." read "the align element."
The CSS style rule "BR.mybr { clear: left }" was incorrect, since it refers to the class "mybr" and not the id value. The correct syntax is: "BR#mybr { clear: left }".
Section 16
All the examples containing a Document Type Declaration used something like "THE_LATEST_VERSION_/frameset.dtd" or "THE_LATEST_VERSION_" as the system identifier for the Frameset DTD. They now use "" instead.
Section 16.3 and Section 16.3.1
The second example of 16.3 and the example of 16.3.1 used the wrong DTD; they now use the Transitional DTD.
Section 17.5
In "attributes defined elsewhere" for the BUTTON element, id, class, lang, dir, title, style, and tabindex were missing. Also, usemap has been removed.
Section 17.6/17.6.1
The "attributes defined elsewhere" for OPTION and OPTGROUP mistakenly listed onfocus, onblur, and onchange. The "attributes defined elsewhere" section was missing for the SELECT element (please see the DTD for the full list of attributes).
Section 17.9.1
The tabindex attribute was said to be defined for the LABEL element. It is not.
Section 17.12.2
The sentence "The following elements support the readonly attribute: INPUT and TEXTAREA." read "The following elements support the readonly attribute: INPUT, TEXT, PASSWORD, and TEXTAREA."
Section 18.2.2, "Local declaration of a scripting language"
The first paragraph read: "It is also possible to specify the scripting language in each SCRIPT element via the type attribute. In the absence of a default scripting language specification, this attribute must be set on each SCRIPT element." Since the type attribute is required for the SCRIPT element, this paragraph now reads: "The type attribute must be specified for each SCRIPT element instance in a document. The value of the type attribute for a SCRIPT element overrides the default scripting language for that element."
Section 24.2.1 and file HTMLlat1.ent
The comment for the character reference "not" read "= discretionary hyphen". This has been removed.
The FPI in comment read "-//W3C//ENTITIES Full Latin 1//EN//HTML", instead this is now "-//W3C//ENTITIES Latin1//EN//HTML".
Section 24.3.1 and file HTMLsymbol.ent
The FPI in comment read "-//W3C//ENTITIES Symbolic//EN//HTML", instead this is now "-//W3C//ENTITIES Symbols//EN//HTML".
Section A.1.1, "New elements" (previously A.1.1) and Section A.1.1, "Deprecated elements" (previously A.1.2)
The S element which is deprecated was listed as part of the changes between HTML 3.2 and HTML 4.0. This element was not actually defined in HTML 3.2. It is now in the new elements list.
Section A.1.3 (previously A.3)
The longdesc attribute was said to be specified for tables. It is not. Instead, the summary attribute allows authors to give longer descriptions of tables.
Section B.4
The sentence "You may help search engines by using the LINK element with rel="start" along with the title attribute, ..." read "You may help search engines by using the LINK element with rel="begin" along with a TITLE, ..." The same stands for the companion example.
Section B.5.1
The sentence "This can be altered by setting the width attribute of the TABLE element." read "This can be altered by setting the width-TABLE attribute of the TABLE element."
Section B.5.2
The sentence "Rules for handling objects too large for a column apply when the explicit or implied alignment results in a situation where the data exceeds the assigned width of the column." read "too large for column". The meaning of the sentence was unclear since it referred to "rules" governing an error condition; user agent behavior in error conditions lies outside the scope of the specification.
Index of attributes
The href attribute for the BASE element was marked as deprecated. It is not. However, it is not defined in the Strict DTD either.

The language attribute for the SCRIPT element was not marked as deprecated. It is now, and it is no longer defined in the Strict DTD.

A.2.2 Minor typographical errors that were corrected

Section 2.1.3
"Relative URIs are resolved ..." was "Relative URIsare resolved ...".
Section 2.2.1
The second word "of" was missing in "Despite never receiving consensus in standards discussions, these drafts led to the adoption of a range of new features."
Section 3.3.3
The sentence "Element types that are designed to have no content are called empty elements." contained one too many "elements". The word "a" was missing in the sentence "A few HTML element types use an additional SGML feature to exclude elements from a content model".

Also, in list item two, a period was missing between "optional" and "Two".

Section 3.3.4
In the section on "Boolean attributes", the sentence that begins "In HTML, boolean attributes may appear in minimized ..." included a bogus word "be".
Section 6.3
The sentence beginning "For introductory information about attributes, ..." read "For introductory about attributes, ...".
Section 6.6
In the first sentence of the section on Pixels, "is an integer" read "is integer".
Section 7.4.1
The first word "The" was missing at the beginning of the section title.
Section 7.4.4
The last word "a" was missing in the sentence "The meaning of a property and the set of legal values for that property should be defined in a reference lexicon called profile."
Section 7.5.2
"Variable déclarée deux fois" read "Variable déclaré deux fois".
Section 9.2.2
The language of the quotations was "en" instead of "en-us", while in British English, the single quotation marks would delimit the outer quotation.
Section 9.3.2
In the first line, the sixth character of "&#x000A" was the letter 'O' instead of a zero.
Section 10.3.1
"(they are case-sensitive)" read "(the are case-sensitive)".
Section 12.1.1
In the sentence beginning "Note that the href attribute in each source ..." the space was missing between "href" and "attribute".
Section 12.1.2
The sentence "Links that express other types of relationships have one or more link types specified in their source anchors." read "Links that express other types of relationships have one or more link type specified in their source anchor."
Section 12.1.5
The second paragraph reads "the hreflang attribute provides user agents about the language of a ..." It should read "the hreflang attribute provides user agents with information about the language of a ..."
Section 13.3.2
In the sentence beginning "Any number of PARAM elements may appear in the content of an OBJECT or APPLET element, ..." a space was missing between "APPLET" and "element".
Section 14.2.2
There was a bogus word "style" at the beginning of the sentence "The style attribute specifies ..."
Section 17.2
In "Those controls for which name/value pairs are submitted are called successful controls" the word "for" was missing.
Section 17.10
There was a bogus word "/samp" just before section 17.11.
Section 17.11
The first sentence read, "In an HTML document, an element must receive focus from the user in order to become active and perform their tasks" (instead of "its" tasks).
Section 18.2.2
Just before section 18.2.3, the sentence that includes "a name attribute takes precedence over an id if both are set." read "over a id if both are set.".
Section 19.1
The section title read "document Document Validation". It now is "Document Validation".
Section 21
The FPI for the Transitional HTML 4.0 DTD was missing a closing double quote.
Section B.5.1/B.5.2
This sections referred to a non-existent cols attribute. This attribute is not part of HTML 4.0. Calculating the number of columns in a table is described in section Section, in the chapter on tables. In sections B.5.1 and B.5.2, occurrences of cols have been replaced by "the number of columns specified by the COL and COLGROUP elements".
Section B.5.2
In the sentence "The values for the frame attribute have been chosen to avoid clashes with the rules, align and valign attributes." a space was missing between "the" and "frame" and the last attribute was "valign-COLGROUP".
Section B.10.1
The last sentence read "Once a file is uploaded, the processing agent should process and store the it appropriately." "the it" was changed to "it".
Index of Elements
"strike-through" in the description of the S element read "sstrike-through".