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

Re: XHTML, attribute minimization, and deployed UAs

From: Todd Fahrner <fahrner@pobox.com>
Date: Sun, 28 Mar 1999 20:07:37 -0800
Message-Id: <199903290407.UAA09724@mail-gw5.pacbell.net>
To: Chris Lilley <chris@w3.org>
CC: www-html@w3.org
Chris Lilley wrote:

[snip - lots of stuff I understand and agree with]

So hooray for XML! I'm neither surprised nor especially disappointed at this
confirmation that mainstream Web browser developers have never thought about
their paychecks and ISO 8879 in the same lifetimes.

The point of my post is that the following passages from the WD are
misleading, and should be modified or stricken:

"Although there is no requirement for XHTML 1.0 documents to be compatible
with existing user agents, in practice this is easy to accomplish."

Whitewash. Suggest adding "in many cases."

"HTML Tidy ... offers a means to smoothly transition existing HTML documents
to XHTML."

Unless said documents contain minimized attributes.

"Transmitting an XHTML document using the Internet Media Type text/html will
help support a smooth transition from HTML to XHTML and encourage its early
adoption. An XHTML document transmitted using this type is likely to be
processed in the usual way be [sic] existing user agents."

I suppose you could say that since "the usual way" is largely undefined, it
still is. <g>

"Although overlapping is illegal in SGML, it was widely tolerated in
SGML-based browsers."

SGML-based browsers? Unintended comic effect? (I couldn't resist.)

> Not really - just serve it up as application/xml and any XML compliant,
> CSS compliant application will display it.

Hm - "just" and "any" imply trivially that my mom can download such an
application by clicking on the appropriate animated GIF in her portal of
choice. I fully support the development of such applications (!!!), but am
not convinced that they can be hastened into broad deployment by such
wishful statements. IMO, W3C stands to lose further credibility as a source
of practical information among Web developers by making such claims.

Todd Fahrner

Standardization, instead of individualization.
Cheap books, instead of private-press editions.
Active literature, instead of passive leather bindings.

    - Jan Tschichold, 1930
Received on Sunday, 28 March 1999 23:07:45 UTC

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