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Re: Can Browsers Attempt to Render Broken XHTML?

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Thu, 26 Jun 2003 13:18:35 -0700
Cc: Masayasu Ishikawa <mimasa@w3.org>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
To: "Tim Roberts" <tim@wiseguysonly.com>
Message-Id: <5D781214-A813-11D7-9537-000393D9E692@idyllmtn.com>


On Thursday, June 26, 2003, at 09:46 AM, Tim Roberts wrote:
> How can they be losing presumed accessibility benefits if the document 
> is:
>
> Well structured, with style seperated from content.

That's not an advantage of XHTML over HTML.  (An HTML 4.01 could very
well separate content from presentation.)

> Equipped to apply any of the operations that could be applied to XML 
> on the
> server side to accommodate alternative browsing devices.

Except that if something is sent as text/html -- and not as
application/xhtml+xml -- what justification is there for using
XML tools on it?  It's just HTML, right?  Even if you coded it
as XHTML...

(You'd have to make a bad assumption, and then be prepared to handle
SGML-based HTML if you're accepting text/html and assuming it's
XML -- so you lose the benefits of XHTML here.)

> Possibly lighter on bandwidth if CSS/XHTML combination is used 
> correctly.

No, there's nothing about XHTML+CSS that makes it lighter on bandwidth
than HTML+CSS.  In fact, XHTML is often going to be slightly "heavier"
than HTML:

      <br>        four characters
      <br />      six characters

> It seems like occasionally this discussion is veering towards an 
> anti-XHTML
> stance just for the sake of it.

Um, nope.  I'm trying to make several points here:

1.  The "benefits of XHTML" presented are generally just the
     benefits of XHTML _or_ HTML (such as your "separation of
     content and presentation" argument).  In these cases,
     XHTML and HTML are equal.

2.  There are a number of complications with using XHTML
     (such as the mimetype and the possibility of poorly formed
     documents breaking entirely) which are not well-known even
     to proponents of XHTML.

3.  Thus, XHTML 1.0 may actually be a less reasonable choice than
     HTML 4.01 for general use on the Web.  It certainly is not
     a slam dunk that XHTML is superior.

The notion that XHTML is boon to accessibility has to be carefully
considered.  Many will take it for granted because it's the
latest-and-greatest; it may be the latest, but when it comes to
accessibility considerations, it's not necessarily the "greatest."

Does that make me "anti-XHTML for the sake of it?"  Gosh, I hope
not.

--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 Thursday, 26 June 2003 16:13:06 GMT

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