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RE: HTML 4.x or XHTML for accessibility

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2002 05:29:55 -0400 (EDT)
To: Alan Chuter <achuter@teleservicios.com>
cc: Simon White <simon.white@jkd.co.uk>, jonathan chetwynd <j.chetwynd@btinternet.com>, "WAI List (E-mail)" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.30.0206180522050.20796-100000@tux.w3.org>

Yes. It is a problem for people making assistive technology that HTML (as
opposed to XHTML) is not really reliable. So browsers end up being massive
programing efforts. Most of the code in them is for dealing with bad HTML,
not for providing any particular new functionality. This is feasible for
mass-market browsers, but not for those with a smaller user base.

By following the compatibility guidelines for XHTML -
http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/#guidelines - you can write XHTML that will work
in almost every known HTML browser and will work in XML browsers. As Alan
points out there are other advantages to using XML - and one he doesn't
mention is that XML Namespaces allow for mixing different types of XML
together. Examples are what Amaya and Mozilla do with XHTML and MathML, and
Amaya and Croczilla do with those two plus SVG.

Using XHTML and making it valid is partly valuable because it allows browser
makers to stop working on fixing code errors that should be stopped by
authoring tools and to start working on making better, more accessible, more
useful browsers.


Charles McCN

On Tue, 18 Jun 2002, Alan Chuter wrote:

  One of the advantages of XHTML must be that imposes some discipline in the
  spaghetti code chaos of real HTML. This makes it easier to create new
  applications to read it, amongst which may be assistive technologies.

  Another advantage is that as it is valid XML it can be readily transformed
  into other markup languages and formats using XSL transformations.


  Alan Chuter

  Fundosa Teleservicios (ONCE Foundation), Madrid, Spain
  ONCE (Spanish National Organisation of the Blind)

  -----Mensaje original-----
  De: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org]En
  nombre de Simon White
  Enviado el: martes, 18 de junio de 2002 10:21
  Para: jonathan chetwynd; WAI List (E-mail)
  Asunto: RE: HTML 4.x or XHTML for accessibility

  Code with errors, surely you jest!

  In all seriousness, I am creating a bespoke set of checkpoints for a company
  and I have at the top this: validate your code to standards. Validate again.

  Is there any reason why the need for valid code is not contained within the
  WCAG, especially as Jonathan has rightly pointed out that incorrect markup
  will not be rendered correctly, if at all...

  thanks anyway Jonathan for the answer, I had a thought that XHTML would be
  better, but I thought that someone else could clarify the position for me as
  I don't like getting things wrong.

  Kind regards to all

  -----Original Message-----
  From: jonathan chetwynd [mailto:j.chetwynd@btinternet.com]
  Sent: 18 June 2002 09:16
  To: Simon White; WAI List (E-mail)
  Subject: Re: HTML 4.x or XHTML for accessibility

  my answers are never very authoritative, however i imagine that in an ideal
  world xhtml will be more accessible, as xml is the future, and xhtml is a
  step in the direction of xml.

  My most serious concern regarding xhtml, and xml (and this future), is that
  code that has errors will not be rendered, try amaya.
  This is bl*** awful for anyone with dyslexia, learning difficulties, DTs,
  typos or other problems, as most would I think prefer some page rather than
  no page.



  ----- Original Message -----
  From: "Simon White" <simon.white@jkd.co.uk>
  To: "WAI List (E-mail)" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
  Sent: Tuesday, June 18, 2002 9:00 AM
  Subject: HTML 4.x or XHTML for accessibility

  > Hello all,
  > I have a rather interesting question to pose, and it is one that I cannot
  seem to find a definitive answer for. Can anyone on the list provide me with
  some help with the following question?
  > Which is best for accessibility: HTML 4.x or XHTML standards?
  > IF anyone knows if there is an answer to this then is it also possible to
  scour everyone's brains for reasons why one is preferred above another.
  > Thank you in anticipation
  > Simon
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Charles McCathieNevile    http://www.w3.org/People/Charles  phone: +61 409 134 136
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative     http://www.w3.org/WAI  fax: +33 4 92 38 78 22
Location: 21 Mitchell street FOOTSCRAY Vic 3011, Australia
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Received on Tuesday, 18 June 2002 05:30:19 UTC

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