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Re: Why DOCTYPE Declarations for XHTML?

From: Murray Altheim <altheim@eng.sun.com>
Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2000 11:55:13 -0800
Message-ID: <3884C521.A26C1801@eng.sun.com>
To: John Cowan <jcowan@reutershealth.com>
CC: "www-html@w3.org" <www-html@w3.org>
John Cowan wrote:
> Will it be reasonable, when XHTML 1.1 comes to fruition, to have
> XML (not HTML) applications that understand XHTML 1.0 but not XHTML 1.1?
> Or should such applications be upgraded as a matter of course
> to understand both?

I'm guessing your question is even more clearly:

  Are the features in XHTML 1.0 that aren't in XHTML 1.1 going to
  be supported in XHTML 1.1 applications? 

This depends on vendors. The real missing pieces are those found in
HTML 4/XHTML 1.0 Transitional and Frameset, such as <font> and <frame>.
I wouldn't be at all surprised if Netscape and Microsoft are *able* to
support such features (since they do now), but there has been a very
strong push from all sides (vendors, designers, authoring organizations
and WAI) to rid ourselves of non-interoperable or broken markup.

I can't answer for what vendors will do, but XHTML 1.1 is a fairly
clean *subset* of the three XHTML 1.0 DTDs, as I've said before: in
a nutshell it's XHTML 1.0 Strict plus <applet>. I expect this will 
allow vendors with smaller developer staffs to enter the market, as
well as allow 1.1 to be used on platforms with more restricted memory,
etc.  As you may know, there's also a subset of 1.1 called XHTML Basic 1.0,
which is targetted specifically at smaller devices.

XHTML 1.1 is really intended as a toolkit for developing HTML-like
markup languages. Because it doesn't use XLink these will probably
be used either in specialized environments, on current browsers (taking
advantage of their ignoring of unknown markup), to allow for processing
document *as* XML, and in allowing for experimentation, subsetting, etc.
It is somewhat a 'transitional' language due to its continued use of 
the HTML linking model.

I expect the real value for XHTML in the future will be with XHTML 2.0,
where we abandon HTML linking and attempt to push HTML forward as a
truly XML language. All of this is speculative, but there is the hope
that XHTML could then be used in 'generic' XML environments, in applications
that have no foreknowledge of HTML semantics and behaviour. There's a lot
of pieces still missing in this puzzle though.

Murray Altheim, SGML Grease Monkey         <mailto:altheim&#64;eng.sun.com>
Member of Technical Staff, Tools Development & Support
Sun Microsystems, 901 San Antonio Rd., UMPK17-102, Palo Alto, CA 94303-4900

   the honey bee is sad and cross and wicked as a weasel
   and when she perches on you boss she leaves a little measle -- archy
Received on Tuesday, 18 January 2000 14:54:17 UTC

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