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More on XHTML as text/html

From: Christopher Hoess <choess@stwing.upenn.edu>
Date: Mon, 25 Nov 2002 23:18:52 -0500
To: ian@hixie.ch
Cc: me@aaronsw.com, www-archive@w3.org
Message-ID: <20021126041852.GA20786@force.stwing.upenn.edu>

Some points on the debate on XHTML as text/html:

1) Aaron, I don't understand how namespaces enter into this. Appendix C of 
XHTML 1.0 defines the subset of XHTML that's "compatible" with HTML 4.01, 
and the use of other XML namespaces is not valid in XHTML 1.0 documents. 
In addition, <URL:http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml-media-types/> tells us that 
"'text/html' is NOT suitable for XHTML Family document types that adds 
[sic] elements and attributes from foreign namespaces". So the supposed 
benefits of namespaces are not accessible in text/html XHTML.

2) Hixie, I'm not sure why you assert that "one of the primary goals of 
XML's development" was to ensure that documents are valid. One of the 
important things WebSGML/XML achieved, it seems to me, is decoupling 
well-formedness from validity, so that one doesn't need to build a 
full-blown content model in order to parse an XML document.

3) Validation. As someone who would actually rather like to see Mozilla 
validate XML documents in-browse (even if text/html is conceded as lost), 
I feel bound to point out here that there's more than just the whims of UA 
programmers involved here. Parsing a DTD (which may need to be loaded over 
the network, if it isn't already cached locally) and building a content 
model is a non-trivial exercise in terms of memory and performance. (And 
iCab does *not* have a validator. It has a linter. The difference is 

My personal perspective on the issue is that since namespaces are verboten 
in text/html, there is, as Hixie says, really nothing in XHTML-as-
text/html that you can't get from HTML 4.01. And XHTML adds the additional 
burden of a number of compatibility guidelines, compliance with which I 
can't determine through validation. In general, it seems like an exercise 
in futility and buzzword-compliance. (What was that about chasing after 
bleeding edge technologies that don't solve real world problems?)

Chris Hoess
Received on Monday, 25 November 2002 23:19:37 UTC

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