Appendix A: Changes between HTML 3.2 and HTML 4.0


  1. Changes to elements
    1. New elements
    2. Deprecated elements
    3. Obsolete elements
  2. Changes to Tables
  3. Changes to Forms
  4. Changes for internationalization

A.1 Changes to elements

A.1.1 New elements

The new elements in this version of HTML are Q, INS, DEL, ABBR, LEGEND, COLGROUP, BUTTON, OPTGROUP, and FIELDSET.

A.1.2 Deprecated elements

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

A.1.3 Obsolete elements

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

A.2 Changes to 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 for improved control over the presentation of tabular information:

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 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.3 Changes to Forms

The forms specified in HTML 3.2 have the following problems:

To solve these problems this specification introduces several new attributes and elements.

A.4 Changes for internationalization

HTML 4.0 takes into account recommendations of [RFC2070] for the internationalization of HTML.