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XHTML 1.0 spec (was Re: Call for contributions: new and improved "Web site quality" articles

From: Brian Kelly <b.kelly@ukoln.ac.uk>
Date: Thu, 2 Oct 2003 18:51:33 +0100 (BST)
To: Jim Ley <jim@jibbering.com>
Cc: public-evangelist@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.GS4.4.58.0310021817200.29436@lamin.ukoln.ac.uk>

Hi Jim
   Thanks for the comments.
   I've changed the subject line as there are two seperate threads: my
documents and my use of XHTML and my reading of the XHTML spec and use of
   My first comments are about the spec.

On Thu, 2 Oct 2003, Jim Ley wrote:

> "Brian Kelly" <B.Kelly@ukoln.ac.uk>
> >    Hmm.  Have just read section 3.1 in
> > http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml-media-types/
> > which does not seem to *ban* this MIME type although it's clearly not
> > recommended:
> XHTML is only "allowed" to be served as text/html if it's under Appendix C,
> if someone would like to correct me on that and say Appendix C isn't
> normative and any old XHTML can be served as text/html then I'll withdraw
> the criticism.

The document says
"C. HTML Compatibility Guidelines
This appendix is informative."

If you think that's incorrect I suggest the editor of the spec should be
informed (I guess there's a QA of the spec issue).

> >    The document is XHTML 1.0 compliant (append ,validate to the URL)
> but it's not Appendix C compliant which AIUI is required to be served as
> text/html (C.7 for example, I didn't bother looking beyond.)

This comment is also about the spec, or rather interpretation of the

C.1. allows you to omit the XML declaration, due to problems with older
browsers.  I've done this.

C.7 says you need lang: and xml:lang attributes.  I have the lang
attribute in the html element.  I don't need to give the xml:lang
attribute as C.1 allows me to omit it (as I understand it).

I think I comply with the other requirements (e.g. I use <br /> etc.) -
although I can't formally prove this.

It does occur to me that there's a need for a tool to validate compliance
with this section.

> Also  xhtml
> 1.0 SHOULD be served as application/xhtml+xml, and I find it hard to explain
> to people that some SHOULD's are to be ignored, and others are to be obeyed,
> how is a non-expert supposed to judge which, surely we need to either
> all or none?

The previous comments are meant to be factual.  The following comment
are subjective and open to debate.

As stated above, I don;'t thinbk my use of the MIME type is wrong - but
may not reflect recommended practices.  I'd like to implement best
practices.  This will include real world implementation issues and not
just the W3C specs.  I also want to be able to implement solutions which
can easily be deployed by others.

My QA Focus Web site is part of our organisational server.  The Web site
is based on simple use of PHP.  I manage the XHTMl fragments in HTMLkit.

We use directory defaults to try to avoid URIs which have gormats encoded
in them (cf recent discussion on this list).

I don't want to change server configuration options which could affect
other areas of the Web site.

So the current approach meant that XHTML resources could be created (and
validated) without having to change server configuration options.  Note
that I suspect that some projects that I advise will not be in a position
to change MIME types (but this is speculation).

So I think my approach is better than creating HTML 4 resources.

If I wish to move to a more appropriate MIME type I'll have to work out
how best to do that.  It may be that I'll need to do something differently
with the file suffix or do something in PHP.  I'd welcome suggestions.

But going back to the best practices in the real world I think there's
need for advice (from this group) on the different approaches to
deployment of XHTML.  This should include advice on whether one should
author in XHTML if one has no control over the MIME type (which may be the
case with some ISPs) and the pitfalls one may encounter in use of various
MIME types.

Note that an advantage with text/html is that the page will display if the
XHTML is invalid.  I think it would be difficult to sell the notion of
application/xml if an invalid file is not displayed (I appreciate the need
for compliance - this comment is about marketing XHTML.  One could argue
that HTML 4.0 is a more fault tolerant format that XHTML (I wouldn't say
that but others may).


> Jim.
Received on Thursday, 2 October 2003 13:51:34 UTC

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