W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > November 2003

Re: XHTML with Internet Explorer

From: Steven Pemberton <steven.pemberton@cwi.nl>
Date: Sun, 2 Nov 2003 18:16:45 +0100
Message-ID: <022801c3a165$85d89b80$df13fea9@srx41p>
To: "Jim Ley" <jim@jibbering.com>, <www-html@w3.org>

> There are numerous other problems with Appendix C. which make it entirely
> inappropriate for being conformance requirements,

XHTML1 Appendix C is marked as "informative". There are no conformance
requirements whatsoever in it.

Appendix C basically points out that there is a class of XHTML1 documents
that can be delivered successfully to legacy browsers, for instance using
content negotiation.

> if you're correctly
> stating the opinion and intent of the WG with XHTML 1.0, then we need
> responses to the outstanding issues

Which outstanding issues are those?

XHTML1 is an XML application, and that is its only intended use. The correct
media type for it is application/xhtml+xml (though there is nothing in
RFC3023 (for XML Media types) that makes it illegal to serve it as text/xml
or application/xml, which indeed some browsers do accept.)

http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml-media-types/ published in August 2002 attempts to
describe the situation with regards to media types, and includes text such
as:

"The 'application/xhtml+xml' media type [RFC3236] is THE media type for
XHTML Family document types"

"The use of 'text/html' for XHTML SHOULD be limited for the purpose of
rendering on existing HTML user agents, and SHOULD be limited to [XHTML1]
documents which follow the HTML Compatibility Guidelines."

> instead we get issues un-responded to, and others not even acknowledged.

Could you give me some examples? I can find no issue from you, let alone
unacknowledged!

Bear in mind that www-html is a discussion forum, not a place to submit
issues. Every W3C specification states the place to submit issues for that
spec.

> but text/html is a valid mime-type for XHTML - RFC 2854 states
> this, as does 5.1 of XHTML1 - so Internet Explorer does support XHTML 1.0.
> It may be doing so in a manner that means it is unaware of XHTML 1.0, but
> that's due to poor drafting of the specification which allows this.

RFC 2854 says:
"In addition, [XHTML1]
      defines a profile of use of XHTML which is compatible with HTML
      4.01 and which may also be labeled as text/html." is what it says.
which about sums up the situation.

The intention of allowing text/html is about good-old backwards
compatibility: providing a migration path from the old browsers to the new.
You can feed HTML4 to HTML3.2 browsers, but not everything will work. You
can feed XHTML1 to HTML browsers but don't expect everything to work. Only
XHTML1 browsers properly process XHTML1.

So Tantek is right: if you serve a XHTML1 document as text/html to IE, it
will be processed as HTML, which is correct behaviour: if I serve a document
as text/html, I am asking for it to be processed as HTML; if I want a
document to be processed as XHTML, I must serve it with an XML related media
type.

Best wishes,

Steven Pemberton,
Chair, W3C HTML Working Group.
Received on Sunday, 2 November 2003 12:22:41 UTC

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