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Re: XHTML 2.0 -- A Chance to Improve Document Structure?

From: Dave Hodder <dmh@dmh.org.uk>
Date: Mon, 26 Mar 2001 22:13:51 +0000
To: www-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <20010326221351.A123@dmh.org.uk>
On Mon, Mar 26, 2001 at 07:27:53PM +0100, Dave J Woolley wrote:

<Snip>

> 	Whilst I think that the suggestion would be good from the
> 	point of view of a clean language design, I don't think
> 	it is compatible (nor do I think the ISO restrictions are
> 	compatible) with the majority of the market for HTML.
> 	(I did actually wonder about this sort of idea when thinking
> 	about the thread quoted above.) 

Whilst I agree with your statement, I don't think that in itself it's a
good enough reason to not enhance XHTML in this way.

In the worst-case scenario, when an author creates wrongly-nested,
<font>-infused tag soup they'll just continue exactly as they have done
previously.  In an ideal utopia, hardcore markup weenies[1] will create
perfectly-structured web documents to share with the world.

Meanwhile where does this leave Joe Webbuilder, who hopefully
appreciates the theory behind markup languages but at the same time is
trying to build an aesthetically pleasing site that relies on <table>s
for layout presentation?  It leaves him slightly better off, I hope.

In the case where you're introducing headings and paragraphs within a
<td> it might still be possible to add a <section> or two within the
<td> and still create a type-valid document.  If this can't be done,
e.g. if <section> elements aren't permitted within a <td>, perhaps a
legacy module could provide access to the <h1>..<h6> elements.
Ultimately though, I hope we can all get out of the habit of using
<tables> as a layout mechanism -- hopefully this side of the version 10
browsers.  ;o)

(Even DocBook provides a way of breaking out of strict section
enforcement -- <bridgehead> mentioned earlier.)

> 	DOCBOOK has been mentioned, and although I don't know 
> 	a great deal about it, I think it is probably a much 
> 	better tool for people who understand how to markup
> 	documents structurally.  DOCBOOK has, I believe, been converted
> 	to XML; I don't think that HTML should also converge on it
> 	as that would just tend to make XHTML become the only 
> 	application of XML.

DocBook and XHTML are quite different languages, suited to different
purposes.  I agree with you that DocBook authors don't suffer from
the myriad of issues web designers face (browser standards support,
presentation vs. structure, etc.) but I feel it's useful in this thread
to provide examples.

Dave

[1] "Hardcore markup weenie"?  Have I just coined a new term here?  ;o)
Received on Monday, 26 March 2001 16:14:42 GMT

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