W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > January 2000

RE: XHTML/XML

From: <rev-bob@gotc.com>
Date: 31 Jan 2000 11:32:48 -0500
To: www-html@w3.org
Message-Id: <200001311133272.SM01100@Unknown.>
> ** Original Sender: "Francis X. Speiser Jr." <webmaster@cablevision-boston.com>
>
> Mr. Dagan is correct as usual... but I think Vidiot has got a valid point.
> Who's idea was it to break bazillions of docs anyway?

What documents have been broken?  Exactly zero, as far as I can tell - because you have to 
explicitly declare that a document is XHTML for the new rules to apply.  Did the release of 
HTML 3.2 "break" all the 2.0 documents?  Nope.  Did 4.0 "break" even one properly-
specified 3.2 page?  Nope.  Did the release of C++ "break" all the programs written in C?  
Nope.  All that's happened is that these documents are no longer part of the "latest thing" - 
and so what?  I've got an entire subsection of my site (http://rage.gotc.com/) that I've barely 
touched in two years, but it still gets hits every day.  Why?  Because it's still usable, even if it 
is aimed at older browsers.  (The last change I made was in February last year, to make sure 
all the links were pointed at the right base URL and that my email address was correct.  
Structurally, they're still identified as HTML 3.2 - and there's not much need to change that.  
At worst, I might go in and change 'em to HTML 4.0 Transitional or HTML 4.0 Frameset, 
just because it is a framed site...but as far as the structure goes, that shouldn't be changing in 
the foreseeable future.)

The bottom line, in any case, is that people can still publish to the old specs if they so desire.  
If someone is just getting started, XHTML should be a simpler spec to learn - no more 
"optional" or "implied" tags to confuse people, no more "sometimes you quote, sometimes 
you don't have to", and so on.

> With the scope of work that the W3C does, it is easy enough to criticize
> something. After all, you can't make all of the people happy all of the time... But
> did they have a meeting and try to decide how, for the first time in history,
> a way to piss off ALL factions of web developers? I write all my HTML/XML
> in lower case, but I find it a little over the top to tell someone else
> they have to change just because someone in the tower thought lowercase
> looks a little better.

XML is case sensitive.  XHTML is HTML written in XML.  That means XHTML is case 
sensitive.  Simple as that.

> And before you go and say that semantics should be standard and in XML
> case sensitivity is an issue, I would like to say that *any* semantic
> language we use should be robust enough to support both and know the
> difference. Maybe the developement isn't finished yet, but it really
> should. ($0.02)

I see your point, really.  I just think you may be defining "robustness" a bit loosely.  The entire 
history of HTML has been about fault-tolerance and making things easy for the authors, at 
the cost of bloated browsers and sloppy code.  IMO, a radical change is needed - and while 
converting my code to XHTML 1.0 was inconvenient, it's a one-time inconvenience that paid 
off by letting me drop some legacy hacks in the XHTML pages.  Small enough price.  
Granted, adjusting to XHTML 1.1 and (eventually) 2.0 will be a bit more painful - because 
they're actually taking out the deprecated elements.  It's going to be a challenge, sure - but 
I'm free to take as much time as I need to do it "right," as opposed to being under some 
artificial pressure to do it "right now."

> I personally, in my own personal opinion, believe that the standards body
> is making a mistake by trading functionality for standardization.

What functionality has been traded away?  Granted, in XHTML 1.1 you lose frames - which 
you can simulate with CSS and XLink if you really need 'em.  Considering how many people 
dislike frames, as well as the continued ability to use frames by marking the pages as HTML 
4.0, I don't consider this such a big deal.  As far as I can tell, XHTML 1.0 simply cleaned up 
the mushy syntax. XHTML 1.1 starts the work of cleanup and modularization, and XHTML 
2.0 is apparently going to be where the real advancement comes in.

> Don't worry though, until the browsers stop supporting older DTD's you
> should be able to declare something other than XHTML 1.0, which will
> render your page with no probs....

Exactly my point.  Heck, I don't consider *any* of the modern browsers truly XHTML 1.0-
compatible - but when I find one that is, I'll be ready.  Mozilla looks promising, if they fix a 
certain annoying HTTP_REFERER glitch before release.



 Rev. Robert L. Hood  | http://rev-bob.gotc.com/
  Get Off The Cross!  | http://www.gotc.com/
Received on Monday, 31 January 2000 11:32:06 GMT

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