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

Re: More language tags would solve a lot of annoyances

From: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Date: Fri, 14 Nov 2003 23:07:32 +0000 (GMT)
Message-Id: <200311142307.hAEN7Xv03245@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
To: www-html@w3.org

> All web pages start with either the <html> or the <?xml> tags.

Not true.  Valid, recent, HTML pages start with <!DOCTYPE.... (your
redundant, purported HTML version of the message isn't valid HTML on
more than that ground).  Some web pages start:

%PDF-1.2

Some start with whatever a Microsoft OLE structured document starts with
(Word, Excel, PowerPoint).

Some will start with whatever a VML document starts with.

Some start with <?xml... but then have an SVG DOCTYPE and an <svg>
opening tag on the document proper.

(Valid HTML 2 documents (which don't need <!DOCTYPE....) can start with
<TITLE>; this can also be the first tag agfter the <!DOCTYPE directive
for HTML 4.01 documents.)

Web documents are not just HTML or XHTML, and in many cases do not need 
one of these as a wrapper around them even though many designers seem
under this misapprehension.

However, the scope of this list is HTML, XHTML, and generic XML common 
to all XML applications.

> Even if you code in XHTML you still have to use the root tag <html>.
> 
> But, instead of having such a useless tag, why not have a different tag for 
> the language the current part of the page is coded in?

As I hope I have demonstrated this is normal practice.

Note also, that it is the MIME Content-Type header that serves the purpose
of distinguishing between different languages served on the net, not the
start of the actual content (even if IE prefers looking at the content to
believing what it is told).
Received on Friday, 14 November 2003 18:07:34 UTC

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