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Re: New requirement - Simplifying Meta Data Profile

From: Robert Brodrecht <w3c@robertdot.org>
Date: Fri, 16 Mar 2007 12:47:22 -0600 (CST)
Message-ID: <50691.66.151.50.244.1174070842.squirrel@www.robertdot.org>
To: <dboudreau@webconforme.com>
Cc: <public-html@w3.org>

Denis Boudreau wrote:
> To me, there can hardly be a more severe shift than the one that
> occured when XHTML 2.0 came out, compared to version 1.0 - in terms   of
> costs and collateral impacts, this seems a lot tougher than
> considering changes to the meta element, isn't it?

XHTML 2 never came out.  It's still unstable and "should not be
normatively referenced for any purposes whatsoever." [1] I don't want to
be a pessimist about W3C endeavors on a W3C mailing list, but I feel I
must since it is in context.

XHTML 1 itself, while widely adopted under the "Appendix C" (HTML
Compatibility Guidelines) [2], has not been adopted in it's intended, real
form (served as application/xhtml+xml NOT text/html).  This is largely due
to IE not understanding real XHTML.  In this way, a simple change of the
mime type has been a major problem with adoption of actual XHTML
(completely ignoring the massive changes XHTML 2 wants to make).

XHTML 2, thus far, is failing / will fail.  The chance of wide adoption of
XHTML 2 in the current climate, assuming the spec was finished, is very,
very low because there is no way to have an "Appendix C" to tide it over
until IE supports XHTML and / or until regular browsers support the new
elements.  Using XHTML 2, if it were done today, would prevent access to a
very large percent of Internet users.  The very fact that we are here
working on HTML 5 under the W3C is a testament to the fact that XHTML is
not where it ought to be.

So, yes, XHTML 2 threw out backward compatibility.  It will pay a price
for it.  We ought to learn our lesson from them, and not drastically shift
existing tags that already work perfectly well.  While a meta tag might
seem insignificant since it is not displayed to the user, all robots /
spiders that make use of meta tags will have to be patched to understand
these changes to meta.

The XHTML 2 guys, assuming they worried over it, had to worry over every
tag they dropped or changed, just as we should.  A strong case ought to be
made for a change if it is actually being suggested.  So, I'd say they are
equally tough decisions and have equal possibility of bad repercussions.

At this point, I'm taking these  discussions lightly because we really
haven't started yet.  I think we're getting a feel for each other, and
arguing over things is a good way to do that.  We haven't begun to
actually have to worry about the suggestions we make and how they may
effect the state of the web.

[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/2006/WD-xhtml2-20060726/
[2] http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/#guidelines

-- 
Robert <http://robertdot.org>
Received on Friday, 16 March 2007 18:34:18 GMT

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