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the "only" name for the xml serialisation of html5

From: Gregory J. Rosmaita <oedipus@hicom.net>
Date: Thu, 1 Nov 2007 17:09:03 +0000
To: public-xhtml2@w3.org
Cc: www-archive@w3.org
Message-Id: <20071101170633.M19590@hicom.net>

aloha, all!

during today's HTML WG teleconference, i was asked by the chairs to 
inform the XHTML2 WG of the HTML5 editors' formal statement on the 
naming issue for the serialization of HTML5.

in reply to a direct query by dan connolly, archived at:


ian hickson replied, in a post to the public-html list, archived at:


with the following statement on behalf of the editors of HTML5:

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch> 
Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2007 08:26:24 +0000 (UTC)
To: Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org> 
Cc: public-html@w3.org 
Subj: Re: The only name for the xml serialisation of html5

On Wed, 31 Oct 2007, Dan Connolly wrote:
> I'm interested to know what the editors (Ian, Dave) and other WG 
> think of those arguments.

I discussed this with Hyatt just now. Our opinion is that the XHTML name 
isn't really that important, since we don't really expect the XML 
serialisation will be used much. Since the XML serialisation of HTML up 
this point has been called XHTML, we think it makes sense to continue 
naming scheme. We also think it makes sense to synchronise the numbering 
schemes of the HTML, XML, and DOM serialisations, thus leading to HTML5, 
XHTML5, and DOM5 HTML, as the draft says.

Further, since the name has been used for several years now there is a 
strong incentive for us to keep calling it "XHTML5" as we have been 
In particular, Windows Live Search, Yahoo! Search, and Google all agree 
that the term "XHTML5" refers to the HTML5 spec, and Wikipedia even 
mentions XHTML5 as being the XML version of HTML5. Indeed, both the MIME 
type for the XML serialisation and its namespace have the term "xhtml" in 
them, strongly indicating that the language is XHTML.

We understand that there are various arguments that have been put forward 
to recommend against use of the term XHTML. One argument is that the 
"XHTML" name is intrinsically linked to the concept of modularisation. We 
disagree with this premise; XHTML1.0 (the only widely used version of 
XHTML) was no more modular than HTML5's XML serialisation. Even if it 
so, though, we do not think that most authors would find the details of 
the language's schema construction to be of relevance in picking its 
Another argument is that HTML5 doesn't need a name for its XML 
serialisation. In practice we have found that actually we frequently 
to the two serialisation, and a name is thus very useful (and people 
naturally call the XML serialisation XHTML).

Regarding the possible confusion with XHTML2, we had thought that this 
confusion would be diffused by the rebranding effort that the W3C 
announced in March of this year [1]. We would point out that the 
between XHTML2 and the original XHTML language (that is, the HTML4 
vocabulary cast as XML) existed before XHTML5 was even considered, so it 
isn't really an XHTML5 issue. We look forward to seeing the results of 
this rebranding effort.

In conclusion, since this is such an unimportant part of the 
specification, and since the arguments for changing the name are so 
we do not feel that there is much reason to change the name.

[1] http://www.w3.org/2007/03/html-pressrelease

Ian Hickson, for himself and David Hyatt.
Received on Thursday, 1 November 2007 17:09:25 UTC

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