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Re: XHTML vs. HTML

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2003 15:00:11 -0700
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
To: Tim Roberts <tim@wiseguysonly.com>
Message-Id: <6457E266-A758-11D7-9537-000393D9E692@idyllmtn.com>


On Wednesday, June 25, 2003, at 02:36 PM, Tim Roberts wrote:
> Kynn Bartlett wrote:
>> On Wednesday, June 25, 2003, at 01:53 PM, Tim Roberts wrote:
>> 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.

That's a nice opinion, but can you support it?  On the face, it's simply
an incorrect statement.  HTML 4.01 makes the same fuss about 
consistency,
well-formedness, etc as XHTML 1.0.  Why do you claim that XHTML "makes
more of a fuss?"

> You relabel standards as "spin" further down.

No, I label the statement that XHTML is meant to supersede HTML as spin.

> All this marketing may just encourage developers to pay more attention 
> to their coding and thus do a better job.

How is this different from HTML?

> 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?

Agreed, so how is this different from HTML?

> Only time will show whether you are a mark-up luddite or I have my 
> head in the clouds.

Actually, no, I'm far from a mark-up luddite.  The fact that
you're considering such a possibility shows that you simply are not
paying attention.  I will accept that you probably have your head in
the clouds, because if I thought you were seriously calling me a
luddite, I'd have to (a) prove you quite wrong, and (b) demand an
apology.

> 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

That's not an accessibility argument.

>>> 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?

No.

> There cannot be one rule for one standard and another for the rest. 
> Standards are standards.

Sure there can.  And the statement above is not by any means the
type of "standard" that a W3C recommendation is.  By the way,
you do know that CSS, HTML, WCAG, etc are not, technically speaking,
"standards"?  It's easy to spout off platitudes about "standards are
standards," but it really helps if the person saying it knows what
a standard _really_ is.

>> 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.

You stated that as your opinion, but you certainly did not support it.
XHTML does not make a "bigger fuss" in a way that benefits 
accessibility.

The only way in which XHTML makes a bigger fuss is by refusing to
display anything of a document is not well-formed, but this does not
benefit accessibility -- in fact, it hurts it.

> 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 marketing techniques have been undertaken by the XHTML group, and
to what extent are those relevant to the discussion of the accessibility
of XHTML vs. HTML?

This argument is not an accessibility argument.
>

> 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.

I don't see the relevance here.  It's not up to us, as developers, to
mandate how other developers do their work.  It's up to us involved in
education to make other Web developers aware of the issues and allow
them to make their own choices, but it's not OUR job to do THEIR jobs
for them.

>> 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.

Oh, good!

> I just believe it has some inherent qualities (most likely from the 
> "spin") that
> encourage developers to be accessible.

Okay, so when you said this:

> 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.

...by "inherent features" you meant "marketing spin done by the XHTML
working group to convince Web developers that they should make more
accessible pages" and not really any features of the XHTML 1.0 language
that differ from HTML 4.01?

If that's what you meant, then so be it, but that seems an awful strange
way for you to state your claim.  It would seem that when talking
about "inherent features", you're talking about features of the
language itself.  No wonder I misunderstood.

--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 17:54:43 GMT

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