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Re: XHTML vs. HTML

From: Tim Roberts <tim@wiseguysonly.com>
Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2003 23:36:52 +0200
Message-ID: <3EFA15F4.5010109@wiseguysonly.com>
To: Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>
CC: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

Kynn Bartlett wrote:

>
> On Wednesday, June 25, 2003, at 01:53 PM, Tim Roberts wrote:
>
>> There is nothing wrong with HTML (I am unsure how long this will 
>> stand true) and it can be made as accessible as anything.
>>
>> However, my point was that XHTML demands a certain level of 
>> accessibility in the fact that it is specifically aimed at 
>> encouraging developers to seperate content and style - this is 
>> definitely a good move for producing accessibile content.
>
>
> HTML makes the same demands.  If you are comparing XHTML Strict to HTML
> Transitional, then you're making a bad comparison.  If you're comparing
> XHTML Strict to HTML Strict, you find that the statement above applies
> to both languages. 


It is my opinion that XHTML makes more of a fuss about the same demands. 
You relabel standards as "spin" further down. All this marketing may 
just encourage developers to pay more attention to their coding and thus 
do a better job. Also, you refer to raising the bar with XHTML. To be 
accessible requires more initial effort than to write valid XHTML (right 
Doctype, lowercase elements and all tags closed). Agreed?

>
>
>> It also enforces developers to provide obligatory textual 
>> alternatives for objects, frames, scripts and applets etc.
>
>
> HTML 4.01 requires this.
>
>> And finally, is it better to develop accessible sites using older 
>> technologies, or new technolgies that contain backwards comaptibility 
>> as well as ensuring your site will still perform with browsing 
>> devices that have not yet been invented.
>
>
> XHTML is not necessarily backwards compatible, and there's little to
> indicate that HTML support will be going away -- ever.  The argument
> that newer technologies are necessarily better is not logically sound.

Only time will show whether you are a mark-up luddite or I have my head 
in the clouds. I do believe that XHTML will become a choice of the 
majority of serious content developers, not only for the increased 
benefits to site users, but also the simplification of development

>
>> I remind you that the w3 states:
>> "XHTML is the successor of HTML."
>
>
> Yes, but that doesn't mean anything in the real world. That's marketing
> spin, not a technical requirement.

So are CSS, HTML and WAI just products of spin? There cannot be one rule 
for one standard and another for the rest. Standards are standards.

>
>> I will have to stand by my claim and say that HTML 4 can be made 
>> accessibile, XHTML has more inherent features that steer developers 
>> toward accessible development, but both still need the human 
>> experience to determine the true accessibility.
>
>
> The statement "XHTML has more inherent features that steer developers
> toward accessible development" is puzzling.  What exactly are you
> talking about?  There is no difference between HTML 4.01 and
> XHTML 1.0, save for the specific requirements of XML.  And there are
> no inherent accessibility features in XML. 

I explained that XHTML does make more of a fuss about being correct. I 
am quite sure that were it not for the"spin" or "marketing" techniques 
of the W3's XHTML group, many people would still be unaware of the 
plethora or development standards available including the WAI.

>
>
> What's more, HTML 4.01 -- by being more forgiving than XHTML 1.0's
> XML rules -- may in fact be more accessible to people with various
> disabilities to _author_ because of that reason.  XHTML 1.0 is
> slightly harder than HTML 4.01, so it raises the bar a little bit
> higher.  Whenever you raise a bar, you have a chance of excluding
> someone.

Once again, how forgiving should we be as developers. We should offer 
constructive criticism to fellow developers when we can recognise the 
effort that has been made to build a well structured site and minor 
errors are found. But do we stop at saying sure, you could have met all 
the WAI guidlines, but proirity 1 is good enough.

> In this case, the exclusion is probably minimal, but the very fact
> that such could exist is a good counter to the notion that XHTML is
> automatically more accessible than HTML.

Agreed, exclusion is minimal. Agreed, XHTML is not automatically more 
accessible. I just believe it has some inherent qualities (most likely 
from the "spin") that
encourage developers to be accessible.


>
> --Kynn
>
> -- 
> Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>                     http://kynn.com
> Chief Technologist, Idyll Mountain                http://idyllmtn.com
> Author, CSS in 24 Hours                       http://cssin24hours.com
> Inland Anti-Empire Blog                      http://blog.kynn.com/iae
> Shock & Awe Blog                           http://blog.kynn.com/shock
>
>
Received on Wednesday, 25 June 2003 17:34:55 GMT

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