W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > March 1999

Re: uppercase vs. lower case

From: Chris Gray <cpgray@library.uwaterloo.ca>
Date: Tue, 02 Mar 1999 09:52:43 -0500
Message-Id: <>
To: George Lund <george@lundboox.demon.co.uk>
Cc: www-html@w3.org
HTML browsers have been designed to tolerate code that does not conform to
the HTML DTDs.  XML has been designed to use standards more strictly in
order to allow clean interoperability.  People can write fairly small XML
programs that will handle the full standard and don't have to bloat their
software to handle all sorts of exceptions for people who don't follow the
standards.  In fact, with good XML software, XHTML won't require any
rewriting of software; all that's needed is the XHTML DTD.  If the XHTML
standard ever gets rewritten, browsers won't need to go through a new
version to conform to a revised standard.

With XML there is more pressure on Web authors to write valid code or to
validate their code.  Once the code is valid, authors have the advantage of
knowing their code will work properly with any compliant software.

We will be dealing with a legacy of HTML documents for some time to come
and most likely anyone who wants to put out a competitive browser will have
to continue to go to the extra effort of making it tolerant of older code
and non-standard code.  Browser support for plain old HTML is going to be
around for a while.

Chris Gray
Library Systems Technician
University of Waterloo

At 10:20 PM 1999-03-01 +0000, George Lund wrote:
>Johannes Ewalt Koch <koch@physik.TU-Berlin.DE> wrote...
>>did you recognize that tags in the XML applications MathML [1] and SVG [2]
>>are lowercase?
>By and large, HTML has evolved so that it is backwards/forwards-
>compatible. So, with minor modifications and perhaps the removal of
>certain deprecated or obsolete elements, an HTML 2 document can conform
>to HTML 4.
>With 'XHTML' (so-called), huge numbers of valid HTML 4 documents are no
>longer valid, even though 'XHTML' is supposed to be the same as HTML 4.
>IMO a big mistake was made when XML was formulated, but it is clear that
>it is now too late to change. But for many, many years authors will
>continue to produce upper and mixed-case tagged documents, and the
>efforts the W3C has made to persuade more authors to create standards-
>compliant documents have been wasted. Even those who previously tried
>hard will now feel that the industry just does not care enough.
>George Lund
Received on Tuesday, 2 March 1999 09:52:48 UTC

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