W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-evangelist@w3.org > October 2003

WASP asks the W3 XHTML 1.0 or HTML 4.01

From: Jim Ley <jim@jibbering.com>
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2003 17:55:14 -0000
Message-ID: <00ba01c39f0e$f911fcd0$428f9bd9@Snork>
To: <public-evangelist@w3.org>


The first of my two almost certainly predictable responses to...


(This is for the errors/lack of clarirty in the document, the other is to
attempt to rebut the arguments)

[in XHTML 1.0]
"empty elements are terminated using a space and a trailing slash"

no they're not in XHTML, they're closed by a trailing slash - the whitespace
is not relevant.

Next is not strictly an error, but in the context of authoring XHTML 1.0
today, where Appendix C compliance is essential, the example has:

<p xml:lang="fr"> ... </p>

This is not allowed under Appendix C. which requires that xml:lang and lang
be duplicated.

Also, you state that only syntax not semantics have changed, I do not agree
with this statement, in HTML and XHTML

<script type="appliction/x-jims-script">
// -->

Has different semantics - in HTML the <!-- is part of a script, in XHTML it
is a comment.  The semantics may not matter to most people, but the
application/x-jims-script actually considers <!-- to mean write the current
date. and // --> to write the current time.  Utterly contrived example of
course, but an example of how the semantics of elements have changed IMO
(what's a comment in XHTML is a script in HTML)

"In HTML, [...] termination of many elements [...] are allowed and

Could you provide an example of an element in HTML which is allowed to not
be terminated. (as opposed to a tag of course which can, AIUI it is not
possible to have a valid HTML document with elements not closed.)

Enough of the errors, although they need fixing before the rest of the
document can be taken seriously, now the actual content of the document:

"Switching from HTML 4.01 to XHTML 1.0 brings almost no direct benefits for
the visitors of your Web site"

Almost no? - could you expand on the benefits it does bring, as this was
what I was hoping to get from the question, and alluding to, but not listing
the benefits has left me just wanting more.

"XHTML is easier to maintain"

This glosses over the fact that there are no QA tools to ensure XHTML
Appendix C compliance, without these, I can't see how the claim can be
justified - especially as one of the statements isn't even detectable by the
W3's own XHTML validator, or any other validator/QA tool I know of.

"The margin for errors in HTML is much broader than in XHTML, where the
rules are very clear"

What are unclear about the rules of HTML4 ?  The W3's validator, and other
SGML based validation appear to have no problem in validating to the HTML
rules - Is the document intending to suggest that the HTML 4 specification
is flawed?   I have large problems with the XHTML specification for example
Appendix C.1 suggests avoiding PI's and Appendix C.14 suggests using PI's -
this contradiction in the specification is not what I'd call clear.

I really do appreciate the work of the QA team and the WASP, and I'm sorry
that my responses to their articles are generally negative, but I do believe
their decision to defend a bad technology decision (XHTML as text/html)
should not be supported, and it should have to actually talk the truth and
not gloss over the flaws.


Received on Thursday, 30 October 2003 13:01:13 UTC

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