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RE: Is this legal XHTML 1.1?

From: Richard Norman <normri@samc.com>
Date: Tue, 17 Dec 2002 09:16:41 -0800
Message-Id: <sdfef343.026@samc.com>
To: <ian@hixie.ch>
Cc: <jelks@jelks.nu>, <bzbarsky@MIT.EDU>, <www-html@w3.org>

See inline comments below.
Richard Norman

-----Original Message-----
From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch> 
Sent: Monday, December 16, 2002 10:46 PM
To: Richard Norman <normri@samc.com>
Cc: "jelks@jelks.nu" <jelks@jelks.nu>, "bzbarsky@MIT.EDU"
<bzbarsky@MIT.EDU>, "www-html@w3.org" <www-html@w3.org>
Subject: RE: Is this legal XHTML 1.1?

On Mon, 16 Dec 2002, Richard Norman wrote: 
> Ok, after this post is all said and done, what are we in the business

> world to do? For those who are not allowed to send dynamic content to

> adjust the MIME type on the fly, what are our alternatives? 

Use HTML 4.01 is the most obvious possibility. 

Authors don't use CSS3 yet, so why do they use XHTML 1.1? 

It took 6 years for CSS1 to go from spec to being truly usable __ why
people not expect to wait as long for XHTML? 

[{Richard Norman}] Well it may take that long to be adopted fully, but
it has already been nearly 4 years since HTML 4.01 was released.  While
it is true that not all browsers are fully compliant with the standards
today, that is no reason for developers not to stay up to date and
current with the specifications.  If you do not practice the language
constructs, how do you expect to learn.  That is the goal here..  And
some people learn by actually creating pages. If it is technically WRONG
to create pages and serve them up as "text/html" then, we need to know
if there are alternatives for the time being.  If not, then we must
continue until the [browser] industry catches up. I started creating web
pages on EMACS and a Unix workstation.  But all I could do was create
pages and look at them locally ( using file:// links; I had not real web
server back then).  In essence I am doing the same thing here but I now
have access to a real web server.  Besides, I am using XHTML 1.0
Transitional to get familiar with the constructs first.

> I personally am moving towards XHTML 


[{Richard Norman}] Again see above, but one other reason is one of the
mottos I develop by.  "If you are not leading then you are being left
behind."  If you are saying to me "Don't worry about XHTML for 6 years..
Be happy with HTML 4.01" then, what you are telling me (at least what it
appears to be saying) is that you need to stay behind until the industry
catches up.  And if that is the case, why are we spending so much energy
on XHTML 1.1 and XHTML 2.0 when the industry has not really even caught
up with HTML 4.01 and XHTML 1.0 fully?

[{Richard Norman}] Not trying to belittle the problem at all ( I
personally feel that many tags in HTML needed cleaning up and more
clarification), but the root of the debate for me is not wither or not
to start your migration, but how to best proceed.  For me right now
XHTML 1.0 transitional is the best way to proceed, but I need to
understand all the gotchas involved with proceeding. Even if it is just
for the sake of my own understanding, the fact the we need to understand
all the ramifications is the most important thing while we convert our
thinking form the HTML world to a more structured XHTML world.

> And when the backward compatibility is not as necessary, we can them

> switch the document to .XML or setup the .XHTML extension on the 
> server... 

I guarentee that you will hit problems when you do this. There is no 
reason why you have to switch existing content to XHTML __ for example
billions of HTML 3.2 documents out there are never going to be
So why use XHTML now, when you _know_ that it is going to give you
when you evetually convert? 
[{Richard Norman}] 

While most documents will just be rewritten, others that are newly
generated (from notepad, Emacs, or even GUI tools) will need some
tweaking to be fully compliant.  That is the kind of understanding that
needs to be done in order to allow this conversion to happen.  If no one
actually uses the tools in a real world scenario, then the Specs are
useless.  That is why the questions and the thinking going on is
important. If HTML 4.01 was good enough, then there will never be a
reason for the migration to XHTML. 

I leave you with the following quote from the W3C web page on HTML

4.0, created by W3C, became a Recommendation in December 1997. A
revision, HTML 4.01 was published in December 1999."..."During 1999,
HTML 4 was re-cast in XML and the resulting XHTML 1.0 became a W3C
Recommendation in January 2000. Work has continued during 2000 through
2001 on modularizing XHTML, producing new profiles of XHTML, and
planning for the future.

XHTML 1.0 brings the Web of the future to content authors today. It is
a reformulation of HTML 4 in XML, bringing the rigor of XML to HTML, and
can be put to immediate use with existing browsers by following a few
simple guidelines."

It is those guidelines that everyone need to understand to make it all
work.  That is why the work on conversion should take place where it

Ian Hickson                                      )\._.,__....,'``.   
"meow"                                          /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._
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Received on Tuesday, 17 December 2002 12:50:28 UTC

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