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Bug 6608 - please undeprecate <center> for older browsers
Summary: please undeprecate <center> for older browsers
Alias: None
Product: HTML WG
Classification: Unclassified
Component: pre-LC1 HTML5 spec (editor: Ian Hickson) (show other bugs)
Version: unspecified
Hardware: All All
: P4 enhancement
Target Milestone: ---
Assignee: Ian 'Hixie' Hickson
QA Contact: HTML WG Bugzilla archive list
Depends on:
Reported: 2009-02-22 07:47 UTC by Nick Levinson
Modified: 2010-10-04 14:45 UTC (History)
4 users (show)

See Also:


Description Nick Levinson 2009-02-22 07:47:40 UTC
I've had difficulty getting centering to work with new commands in old browsers, even with CSS, unless I use <center> tags in the body. They're redundant, but they work.

I wish you'd simply bring <center> back as an optional alternative, by undeprecating it.

I suspect that surveys of installed bases of software understate home use and possibly school use, if the main purpose of the surveys is to support sales to businesses. My local library maybe six months ago told me that they still lend out books on Windows 95, not just that they shelve them but that they actually get borrowed. So I still author for Internet Explorer 5 and 5.5, which I run on 2 Win9x machines (95a and 98SE).

This responds to <>, Working Draft, 12 February 2009. For Bugzilla, I selected all OSes; I develop on Win95a and 98SE and Linux and want pages to work on whatever users use.

Thank you.

Comment 1 David Dorward 2009-06-11 21:53:04 UTC
Internet Explorer 5.0 and 5.5 have reached end of life. Their vendor's extended support period expired several years ago. Security fixes are no longer available for them. Their market share is tiny.

<center> was deprecated in HTML 4.0, which reached recommendation status in 1997.

I'm of the opinion that HTML5 shouldn't compromise to support cosmetic effects (using language features that have been marked for removal for over a decade) in obsolete browsers. That way holds back progress.

When HTML5 reaches recommendation status, it isn't going to prevent HTML 4.01 documents from being supported.
Comment 2 Nick Levinson 2009-06-12 02:34:09 UTC
Burning bridges to the past harms Web diversity, the variety of websites and users who need to work with what they have. A library lending books on Win95 means the user base is not so tiny, and that's in the U.S. We should assume that people with less money are more likely to pass along whatever they have to other people, including older computers and software, regardless of vendor support.

While page authors may write in HTML version 1 or 2, they usually use whichever version has the best literature and community support, and that, with some lag, will tend to be the latest. Therefore, the latest HTML should support older browsers.

Any website owner who wants to limit use to only the later browsers may do so without removing anything from HTML. Yahoo restricts by denying support for older browsers and so do some OS/browser vendors. But many of us want large user bases. That requires designing websites for wider compatibility.

Progress by adding capabilities is useful progress, and HTML 5 does that with other features, so the Web can still advance without denying practicality and reach.


Comment 3 Nick Levinson 2009-06-13 05:22:05 UTC
95/98 is in use: Microsoft licenses downgrading from Windows XP all the way back to 95 (<>, as accessed 6-13-09, bottom) (upgrading often includes a legal prohibition on reversing the procedure). The downgrade option suggests that the market share in 95 or 98 is significant, since they'd hardly spend money to develop a legal product (licenses, etc.) for just a small customer or two. I suggest two main markets want to downgrade that far back: institutions using applications designed for 9x; and developers. The existence of either market implies availability, and likely use, of older browsers like IE 5.x today is not so rare.


Comment 4 Ian 'Hixie' Hickson 2009-06-28 10:19:42 UTC
I concur with David's comments above. Centering content is easily done with CSS. HTML is supposed to be a presentation-independent, media-independent language, and thus centering and alignment controls do not belong in the language. HTML4 started down that road years ago, and the reasons for this have only become more relevant with time.
Comment 5 Maciej Stachowiak 2010-03-14 13:16:56 UTC
This bug predates the HTML Working Group Decision Policy.

If you are satisfied with the resolution of this bug, please change the state of this bug to CLOSED. If
you have additional information and would like the editor to reconsider, please reopen this bug. If you would like to escalate the issue to the full HTML Working Group, please add the TrackerRequest keyword to this bug, and suggest title and text for the tracker issue; or you may create a tracker issue yourself, if you are able to do so. For more details, see this document:

This bug is now being moved to VERIFIED. Please respond within two weeks. If this bug is not closed, reopened or escalated within two weeks, it may be marked as NoReply and will no longer be considered a pending comment.