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XHTML vs. WYSIWYG vs. Whatever?

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Sat, 20 Jan 2001 08:28:00 -0800
Message-Id: <>
To: Davey Leslie <davey@inx-jp.org>
Cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
At 07:06 AM 1/20/2001 , Davey Leslie wrote:
>But I don't know *what* the heck you're saying and it's really starting to
>fry my little lizard brain.

>Here's my confusion. On the one hand, I hear you saying something like:
>A)  XHTML is 'obsolete'--from its very conceptual roots upward it's 100%
>wrong-headed. If you're not using XML and XSL to transform it into XML, then
>wake up, you sap, because you're absolutely wasting your time backing a very
>dead horse. 

I don't think I used quite as insulting of language as you suggest,
but, yes, I think that philosophically, XHTML is not really necessary
nor usable in the current state.

The benefits of XHTML can be gained by going to XML -or- by sticking
with HTML; XHTML just adds an unnecessary level of complication to
-both-, and doesn't produce any tangible benefits by virtue of being

I consider XHTML to be only about as useful as HTML itself is; in an
XML context, XHTML's main usefulness is for legacy compatibility with
HTML browsers.  Apart from that, it has little to offer.

>On the other hand, I hear you saying something like:
>B)  moderation and realism are called for and if you don't have time to
>learn the basic concepts of HTML, then don't sweat it. Do the best you can
>with what you've got.

Yes, that's true too.  Within the constraints of the problem which
Anne proposed, she clearly has to make do with -something-.

>Why is WYSIWYG--and colorful code it tends to generate--a reasonable
>compromise, but XHTML the Devil's Own Spawn? Or is that not what you are

Well, because conceptually WYSIWYG is -right- -- on a concept level,
my god, it's 2001, nobody should be having to hand-code HTML!  And
there is no other way than a WYSIWYG-style editor for untrained
users to be able to use the web to communicate.

On the conceptual level, XHTML is -wrong-, because rather than being
a stepping-stone to the future, it's a heavy rock on a chain which
at best can only serve to hold people back from adopting a more
sensible XML structure for their documents.  It's an interim measure
which, by the time it becomes sensible to use, will be obsolete.

Right now the supposed benefits of XHTML are actually quite small;
there are no real, practical benefits of using XHTML over HTML 
except in a few cases where you're willing to push the envelope on
experimental web code.  (Granted, many of us on this list are,
but we are not typical.)  By the time XHTML support is mature
enough to be worthwhile, XML support will likewise be there --
and XHTML will be unnecessary.

Kynn Bartlett  <kynn@idyllmtn.com>                http://kynn.com/
Technical Developer Relations, Reef           http://www.reef.com/
Chief Technologist, Idyll Mountain Internet   http://idyllmtn.com/
Contributor, Special Ed. Using XHTML     http://kynn.com/+seuxhtml
Unofficial Section 508 Checklist       http://kynn.com/+section508
Received on Saturday, 20 January 2001 12:18:09 UTC

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