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Re: XHTML 2.0: Where Is It Going?

From: Bjoern Hoehrmann <derhoermi@gmx.net>
Date: Fri, 17 Aug 2001 17:27:28 +0200
To: "Sean B. Palmer" <sean@mysterylights.com>
Cc: <www-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <3edqnt4uo034mijirk3p3dth8u1kkvjimv@4ax.com>
* Sean B. Palmer wrote:
>If (as the roadmap infers) XHTML 2.0 is just a redrafting of XHTML to
>make it "pure XML", I think that would be a mistake. People are *not*
>going to author XHTML 2.0 if they want it to display on all browsers,
>because only a couple of the latest ones support XML technologies to
>any usable degree. Backwards compatability is everything, [...]

I strongly disagree with you here. If backwards compatibility means
everything to you, you won't use anything but HTML 4.01 Transitional or
even better HTML 3.2 since support for certain HTML 4 features didn't
come before this year and some implementations still lack of some
features. If you don't care to much about it, you might switch to HTML
4.01 Strict. You can hardly use XHTML 1.0 but using e.g. XHTML 1.1 or
XHTML Basic 1.0 is currently impossible if you try to deliver them to
current user agents.

The reason for this is very simple, if you want backwards compatibility
you must label your pseudo-XHTML document as text/html and to do this,
you must follow the combatibility guidelines of XHTML 1.0 and that's not
possible for XHTML 1.1 or XHTML Basic 1.0 without a major lost of
functionality. If you label your XHTML documents as text/html they won't
even be parsed as XHTML since the HTML WG rejected the idea to somehow
sniff whether the document is HTML or XHTML. So you have to label it as
either

  text/xml
  text/xhtml
  application/xml
  application/xhtml+xml

You currently can't use text/xhtml (supported by Opera5) or
application/xhtml+xml (supported by current Mozilla and the registration
is currently an Internet Draft) since they aren't registered at IANA and
you can't use the general purpose XML MIME types, since Internet
Explorer would switch to it's defaultss.xsl style sheet to generate some
tree representation of the document (additionally is application/xml not
supported by Opera5).

So the way to go for XHTML documents is labeling as
application/xhtml+xml and all older browsers will reject to render
documents labeld as such which is quite reasonable since they don't
support XHTML.

It is not possible to deliver XHTML document to user agents that don't
support XHTML, so there is no need to design XHTML 2.0 backwards
compatible with current user agents; it's not even possible.

>We shall be seeing V4 browsers for a while longer, and browsers such
>as Lynx and IE3 which have no capacity for the XML range of technologies
>"semantics". If the HTML WG were to pursue this line for XHTML 2.0, I
>would be shocked.

Prepare to be shocked.

>[...]

You are misreading the road map, XHTML 2.0 will replace the proprietary
methods from XHTML 1.0 (linking, forms, meta data, etc.) by general
purpose XML technologies, that's what I read out of the roadmap.
-- 
Björn Höhrmann { mailto:bjoern@hoehrmann.de } http://www.bjoernsworld.de
am Badedeich 7 } Telefon: +49(0)4667/981028 { http://bjoern.hoehrmann.de
25899 Dagebüll { PGP Pub. KeyID: 0xA4357E78 } http://www.learn.to/quote/
Received on Friday, 17 August 2001 11:28:35 GMT

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