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Re: XHTML/XML some constructive comments required.

From: <tina@greytower.net>
Date: Sat, 28 Jun 2003 00:34:33 +0200 (CEST)
Message-Id: <200306272234.h5RMYY408158@localhost.localdomain>
To: mcmay@w3.org
cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

On 27 Jun, Matt May wrote:

> On Friday, June 27, 2003, at 09:00  AM, tina@greytower.net wrote:
>>   The link you are referring to outlines how to get IE 6 to use the CSS
>>   box model instead of it's own hack, and nothing to do with making it
>>   accept XHTML as XHTML and not tag-soup HTML.
> The document says:
> "This section describes how to use the !DOCTYPE declaration in your 
> document to switch on standards-compliant mode with Internet Explorer 6 
> or later."

  May I draw your attention to the "Summary" part which states:

   "This document describes the enhanced support for the Cascading Style
    Sheets (CSS) specification provided by Microsoft Internet Explorer 6
    or later."

  Whilst I've found documentation coming out of Microsoft to be tedious
  and on occation incorrect, the above is spot on.

  The document you refer to talks about CSS. It talks about how to get
  IE 6 into a mode of operation where it supports the CSS box model. It
  talks about how to use the DOCTYPE to achieve this.

> Can you provide some evidence that deep down in all these rendering 
> engines, XHTML is gumming up the works, and why it matters if the users 
> have access to the entire DOM tree in standards mode?

  Evidence ? Well, if you try to access an XHTML 1.1 document with IE 6
  it will, typically, prompt you to save it.

  I'm afraid I don't have access to the IE source code, so I can't
  really be more specific than that.

> Yes, the application/xhtml+xml problem exists, but in the long term it 
> is soluble at the server, outside of the content itself. The question, 
> as I would frame it, is whether content that authors expect to keep 
> around for any period of time benefits long-term from being in XHTML. I 
> think that's a reasonable call to make.

  Certainly. It's quite easy to do on-the-fly re-configuration of the
  content-type in sane webservers so that IF the UA supports
  application/xhtml+xml it's sent that way.

  Not that it makes it any *less* a violation of the standard. This,
  however, wasn't the original topic - and doesn't change the inherent
  accessibility of *both* HTML and XHTML. The former does, at the
  moment, have less problems.

> The WCAG WG is refining its definition of "supported" in 11.1 by 
> changing and defining "widely supported" in WCAG 2 Checkpoint 4.2. If I 

  Perhaps we should just stick with what we find in WCAG 1.0 - seeing
  that WCAG 2.0 is in draft ... ?

> remember it right, the suggestion is that in WCAG 2, support means 
> implementations in major UAs on major platforms, and 3 years since the 
> format became a final standard. XHTML 1.1 came out in 2001.

  "... support means implementations in major UAs on major platforms,
   and 3 years since the format became a final standard"

  This worries me. This, to me, smells like "If you have a MINOR UA on a
  MINOR platform then phthththththththt".

  Does this mean that, after three years, an author can - without
  violating the WCAG - use a feature if it is in the [undefined] major
  UAs on the [undefined] major platforms **without worrying about any
  other UA out there** ?

  There is, surely, something about making sure that new technology
  doesn't mess up for older UAs ?

> A liberal interpretation of "supported" might lead one to believe that 
> XHTML 2 is supported, since the XSmiles browser works on all major 
> platforms. However, is that a reasonable call to make?

  Since XHTML 2 is, currently, a working draft, I would think not. YMMV.

> XHTML 1.1 is the latest recommended version of HTML, not just of XHTML. 

  You are telling me that XHTML - an XML application - is the next
  version of HTML - an SGML application ?

> The W3C HTML home page[1] states that "XHTML is the successor of HTML," 
> and repeatedly cites XHTML 1.0 as the next version in the HTML family 
> ("...following on from earlier work on HTML 4.01...", "XHTML is the 
> first major change to HTML...")

  Actually, what the W3C seems to be saying is:

   "XHTML is a family of current and future document types and modules
    that reproduce, subset, and extend HTML 4"


   "HTML 4 [HTML4] is an SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language)
    application conforming to International Standard ISO 8879"

  I'm afraid I can find nothing at the indicated URI to confirm that
  XHTML and HTML are in the same family. The fact that the former is
  XML-based and the latter SGML-based makes me believe they are not.

  I'm certain I must have missed something here. Perhaps someone with
  vastly more SGML and XML experience could clear this up.
 -    Tina Holmboe                    Greytower Technologies
   tina@greytower.net                http://www.greytower.net/
   [+46] 0708 557 905
Received on Friday, 27 June 2003 18:35:02 UTC

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