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

Re: Promotion of XHTML

From: John Colby <John.colby@btinternet.com>
Date: Mon, 30 Dec 2002 18:05:05 +0000
Message-Id: <>
To: public-evangelist@w3.org

At 11:18 30/12/2002 -0500, Brant wrote:

>Nigel Peck - MIS Web Design wrote:
>>It's great how XHTML is progressing with version 2 etc. but it strikes me
>>that while the W3C is taking the specs into the future the majority of the
>>Web Development world is lagging miles behind.

>>For example, a college near to me teaches Web Design. They teach HTML not
>>XHTML. People come out of there happily writing <br> tags and not closing
>>their <p> tags and some will go on to create Web sites.

>>For my part I've started a series of articles aimed at teaching XHTML to
>>beginners, if anyone is interested it's at:
>By the time the textbook is printed, it is probably out-of-date and if 
>adopted, it takes about five years before new text books are adopted.
>In the worst cases, Web design education is at least six years behind the 
>Web specifications.  That is why you still see people writing 
>presentationally using invalid HTML 3.2 through a Web editor.  Such is the 
>case with my school.  Despite all my efforts, they fail to realize that 
>HTML is a markup language that adds meaning, not fancy colors.

I have seen all this, agreeing with the sentiments here and by the greatest 
of good fortune I have been appointed Lecturer in Computing at the 
University of Central England in Birmingham. I start officially on 
Wednesday, 1st January. One of my remits it to teach a course on Internet 

So it's been a busy Christmas preparing for a complete change in career 
direction, having spent the last 30 years in industry

Nigel's tutorial is interesting, and part of the way I plan to go. However 
my plan is probably more radical (I am after all teaching people who are 
getting a degree and will probably have some web page writing experience). 
My plan is to start off with a basic format of a page with "Hello World" as 
a header or like of text and then develop it no more - but then attach a 
style sheet and then alter the appearance of the page using the style 
sheet. I'll also introduce the difference between bold and strong tags with 
reference to speech browsers as well as visual. All this is in XHTML 1.1. 
So the initial development is not so much XHTML as the presentation of 
information across the web to a variety of internet devices.

Only after the concept of separating content and presentation is fully 
understood will we elaborate on XHTML and develop CSS along with it.

Later on we'll have to consider retrofitting table and frame based HTML 
pages, but I haven't got there yet. Neither have I got to the stage of 
server side PHP, JSP and Client side Javascript. But the core concept is a 
parallel development of XHTML and CSS skills with the goal that web pages 
presented to any browsing device, standard or using adaptive technologies, 
is both standard and accessible.

Initially the coding will be performed using a text editor - the 
organisation's Windows only at the moment but I've already had discussions 
about Linux and deploying it more widely. - but the one and only tool I've 
been able to feel comfortable with is TopStyle Pro 
(http://www.bradsoft.com) and although I've been trying to get to grips 
with Arachnophilia (http://www.arachnoid.com/arachnophilia/) I haven't yet 
been satisfied that I can convert it all into XHTML 1.1 compliant mode 
without a load of work (where'd all the time go!?). Although it's free 
doesn't seem to be approaching the code from the 'right' way IMHO. 
Dreamweaver is a great tool, but a no-no because of cost. I'm going to get 
them to process graphics with the GIMP.

I'd appreciate anyone's views on this and your opinion of this type of 
approach, both for learning style and toolsets, bearing in mind that this 
is classroom teaching by lecture and workshop (it may expand later into 
print and web media) and is intended to be part of a degree course.



John Colby

john.colby@uce.ac.uk (active early January)
Lecturer in Computing, University of Central England, Franchise Street
Perry Barr, Birmingham B42 2SU phone +44 (0)121 331 5000

4 Ambion Rise, Market Bosworth, Nuneaton, Warwickshire, CV13 0NY
Phone +44 (0) 1455 290271, mobile 0771 114 1621 website 
Received on Monday, 30 December 2002 13:05:08 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 6 January 2015 20:16:17 UTC