W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-evangelist@w3.org > December 2002

Re: W3C Home page switched to full CSS layout

From: Robert Clary <bclary@netscape.com>
Date: Fri, 06 Dec 2002 13:23:35 -0500
Message-ID: <3DF0EB27.3010501@netscape.com>
To: David S <david@schrimpf.tv>
CC: public-evangelist@w3.org

David S wrote:
> On Friday, December 6, 2002, at 05:31  AM, Robert Clary wrote:
>> You gain no real benefit from using XHTML content if the page is to be 
>> served as text/html.
> If nothing else, the syntax rules are more consistent and simply make 
> more sense than HTML4. Don't you think? I know it has been much easier 
> to teach strict XHTML than strict HTML4.

The problem is that it is still HTML and will be treated as HTML by 
"other" browsers in wide distribution.  This can lead to incorrect 
coding practices which the "other" browser will be forgiving of and 
which will result in another generation of web authors learning the 
wrong way to code XHTML/XML. Of course, since whatever broken markup 
they use works in the "other" browser, then any browser which disagrees 
is considered broken. Believe me, I've been there and seen that many 
times before.

Of the last two years I have had to deal with numerous sites which 
thought that "XML was cool" and would incorrectly use XML syntax in HTML 
documents. These people did not really understand what XML was about nor 
how to use it.

How do you deal with sites that use empty element syntax for non-empty 
elements such as <form /> or <option /> ? Believe me, it is not just 
minor sites which make these kinds of mistakes. Search the Tech 
Evangelism product in bugzilla.mozilla.org for examples of major sites 
which have made this mistake.

If IE is so broken that it can not handle XHTML served as XHTML then 
send it a pure HTML page which it can handle. Any web author using it 
who looks at the W3C home page for inspiration will see a good example 
of using CSS to create a table-less layout in HTML which is a good 
thing.  They will not be confused by the XML syntax and try to use it 
inappropriately in their own pages.

The W3 home page is served by Apache/1.3.26 (Unix) PHP/3.0.18 which 
should be able to distinguish downlevel browsers such as Internet 
Explorer and serve them pure HTML while sending XHTML with the 
appropriate content type to browsers which can support it.

I believe that is the most appropriate thing to do.


Received on Friday, 6 December 2002 13:24:36 UTC

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