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My thoughts on XHTML 2

From: Kelvin Chung <kelvsyc@shaw.ca>
Date: Mon, 20 Jan 2003 10:34:41 -0700
To: W3 HTML Mailing List <www-html@w3.org>
Message-id: <BA518141.373C%kelvsyc@shaw.ca>

After reading the latest XHTML 2.0 WD, I can say that XHTML is certainly on
the right foot.  Firstly, there seems to be a lot less elements, which is
indicative of a simpler, more compact design (although this simpler, more
compact design still needs a Basic counterpart).

I especially applaud the following:
 - allowing any element to be a hyperlink or object container
 - the replacement of <br> with <l>
 - <section> and <h> are how <h1> to <h6> should have been...

However, I seem to have some concerns:

1. Is there any point to having <sub> or <sup>?  I cannot find any real
semantic value in these two elements.

2. Would <l/> (ie. An <l> element with no content) be the same as <br/> in
the long run?

3. Is there any point in keeping <a> or <object> now that any element can
act as such?  Perhaps an accessibility objective...?

4. <nl>, the accesskey attribute, and the navindex attribute seems to be a
bit media-specific, as it seems that non-screen media do not benefit much,
if anything, from this.  Perhaps someone can enlighten me on what is going

5. Will there be a skeleton XSL stylesheet that transforms between XHTML 1.x
Strict and XHTML 2.0?

6. With <section> and <h>, is there any point in keeping <h1> to <h6>?

7. I'm not sure on this, but is multiple instances of <title> permitted so
that you can have titles in different languages?

8. Will either the linking module or the meta module be deprecated/replaced
(in favor of RDF/XLink)?

9. Will there be an XFrame module?

10. I can see how advertisers can abuse the "universal link" by placing a
href attribute in one of the main structural tags.  Is this of anyone's
concern at W3C?

I'd also like to make some suggestions, although they may have been debated
to death:

1. <hr> - although it possesses some semantic meaning, it's in the
"presentation" module.  If <hr> is "purely presentational" as its position
implies, wouldn't something like the skeleton example below suffice?

<l src="hr.gif">* * *</l>

Thus, <hr> either needs to be retooled so as to make its semantic meaning
clear, or be removed completely.

2. Although this is somewhat controversial and perhaps out of personal
preference, what about removing <script> and <style>?  From a "structural
purist" perspective, style sheets and scripts should be kept separate from
the XHTML document at all times.  (This argument might be invalidated if you
consider putting XML from multiple namespaces together)

3. ismap="ismap" (as an example) seems to be a bit too much.  I think
something similar like ismap="yes" or ismap="true" should be used instead.

4. Could a limited subset of SVG be used instead of the shape and coords

5. And now for something a bit stupid: how about a "XSemantic" set of
elements?  For example, if you want to markup a URI, you could mark it up in
something like <xs:uri>.  This "extra" set could address large numbers of
semantic element requests while keeping XHTML slim and not bloated...

6. The difference between <section> and <div> should be made more clear.  I
have a hard time determining the difference, and I fear that people may not
care about the difference, seeing that <div> elements currently do what
<section> would do anyways.
Received on Monday, 20 January 2003 12:34:45 GMT

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