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Re: XHTML and Latest Standards

From: Jukka K. Korpela <jkorpela@cs.tut.fi>
Date: Wed, 10 Jan 2007 19:41:36 +0200 (EET)
To: "GOODRICH, JOHN (SBC-OPS)" <JG9598@att.com>
cc: www-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.GSO.4.64.0701101927390.21661@mustatilhi.cs.tut.fi>

On Tue, 9 Jan 2007, GOODRICH, JOHN (SBC-OPS) wrote:

> I am new to developing Web pages with HTML, and I'm a bit confused of
> where to look for the most current standards.

The only _standard_ in the strict sense of the word is ISO HTML, but very 
few people take it seriously.

> It would be helpful if
> the W3C home page simply said somewhere prominently, "The latest
> standard for HTML specifications" or something like that.

The page http://www.w3.org/TR/ lists W3C specifications, and the newest of 
HTML specs is XHTML Print. So what? It says that it "is designed to be 
appropriate for printing from mobile devices to low-cost printers". (I'm 
biting my tongue to avoid making ironic remarks, since irony has become 
impossible here.)

Going backwards in time, you next find XHTML 1.1. So what? It's an 
exercise in futility.

The question is: should you follow the newest W3C recommendation? Why?

> Can someone
> just tell me if it is XHTML 1.1, 1.0, XFORMS, XHTML-Print, HTML 4.01, or
> what?

The expert consensus, possibly excluding some people in the W3C HTML 
group, is that you should use HTML 4.01 as the format of your web pages. 
In private applications, and as internal format of data that will be 
converted to web pages, you can use whatever format you find suitable.

The main reason is that Internet Explorer has no understanding of XHTML 
when served as XHTML. Besides, you gain nothing by using real XHTML on the 
web, except possibly the phenomenon that _any_ violation of general XML 
rules ("well-formedness rules") should make a browser report the error to 
the user and refrain from displaying any of the content of the page.

-- 
Jukka "Yucca" Korpela, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
Received on Wednesday, 10 January 2007 18:01:29 GMT

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