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Re: Web site accessibility-layers

From: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Date: Wed, 16 Apr 2003 22:13:17 +0100 (BST)
Message-Id: <200304162113.h3GLDHb08457@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

> and 508 - W3C does not limit itself to "Dominant" or any other kind of
> browser....

Lynx isn't an XHTML browser either, and serving XHTML properly breaks
the page for most users++.  The basic argument is that you cannot
serve XHTML 1.0 properly to IE, which means that you largely lose its
advantage as you will get away with serving not well-formed XHTML,
therefore making it essentially the same as HTML 4.01.  The particular
concern expressed is that a large amount of not well-formed XHTML will
get written, resulting in problems when XHTML browsers become common
(possibly putting commercial pressure on the developers to drop the
rejection of not-well formed xml+html documents).

Most people using XHTML these days are doing it for fashion reasons, 
rather than because it gives them any advantage.

Incidentally, XHTML 1.0 is not compatible with HTML.  The compatibility
rules rely on the browser not processing HTML strictly according to
the definition.  / at the end of a tag is not ignorable in a strict
implementation of HTML; it can't be ignored through error recovery as
it has a specific meaning that is defined - it's not necessarily
a syntax error.  There is no strict backwards compatibility, even though
there is a de facto one for many browsers.

Basically, if you serve XHTML any time in the next 10 or so years, you
will be breaking the "any browser" principle, and encouraging the propagation
of bad HTML habits to XHTML.

++ IE either doesn't understand application/xml+html at all or gives
the unknown XML document format treatment.  The version of Lynx I have
would probably give a download or cancel prompt.  Served with 
a text/html type, IE treats it as HTML, including all the standard error
recovery, which results in the typical person authoring for IE being
likely to introduce numerous undetected structural errors.
Received on Thursday, 17 April 2003 01:48:41 GMT

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