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why XHTML was Re: accessify.com's review of RNIB relaunch

From: Matt May <mcmay@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2003 14:17:25 -0700
Cc: James Craig <work@cookiecrook.com>, tina@greytower.net, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
To: Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>
Message-Id: <6AFAC3B3-A752-11D7-9CD0-000393B628BC@w3.org>

On Wednesday, June 25, 2003, at 01:40  PM, Kynn Bartlett wrote:
> On Wednesday, June 25, 2003, at 09:37 AM, James Craig wrote:
>> I think the only accessibility difference between using valid HTML 
>> versus valid XHTML is that XHTML conforms to standard well-formed XML 
>> rules and could therefore be used and displayed by /any/ XML parser. 
>> The "accessibility" benefit doesn't necessarily relate to people with 
>> disabilities but instead just refers to "access for all".
> Such as what, though?

Today, there's not much direct accessibility benefit, since most modern 
ATs are designed to work with HTML 4. (Personally, I think that HTML 
4.01, its ancestors and error-ridden code are going to be with us for 5 
years or more, but that's no reason to prolong it.)

However, the benefits of XHTML continue to accrue over time. XHTML 
allows transformation using XSLT, which makes repurposing content more 
convenient. It can be built with profiles, such as XHTML+SMIL, or 
XHTML+MathML+SVG, which presents the opportunities for richer, more 
customizable interfaces than HTML alone. It'll be easier to embed 
metadata (including accessibility claims) into XHTML than using a 
zillion <meta> tags, as we do in HTML.

> Note:  If you have an XHTML document with an error -- say you forgot
> to close a tag -- and your browser displays it anyway, your browser
> is in VIOLATION of the XML standard.

So? Same's true of HTML 4.01 Strict: Amaya refuses to render invalid 
Strict content. But the other browser makers (rightly) assume that it's 
better to accommodate the user by working around errors in authored 
content than to punish them.

Received on Wednesday, 25 June 2003 17:17:36 UTC

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