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

Re: XHTML 2.0 considered harmful

From: Tantek Çelik <tantek@cs.stanford.edu>
Date: Tue, 14 Jan 2003 05:12:15 -0800
To: "www html w3.org" <www-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <BA494C42.1F167%tantek@cs.stanford.edu>

On 1/14/03 3:56 AM, "Christoph Päper" <christoph.paeper@tu-clausthal.de>

> Tantek Çelik:
>> In case anyone here hasn't seen this yet, if you have any interest in
>> 2.0, Mark Pilgrim's frank comments are worth a read:
>>  http://diveintomark.org/archives/2003/01/13.html#semantic_obsolescence
> Actually it's full of misunderstandings.
> The removal of cite (without explanation / alternative) is IMHO an error. I
> already pointed out my feelings about q/quote and abbr/acronym. I'm happy
> that img etc. are gone in favor of object. line/l is also much better than
> br and h+section better than h1-6.

I too prefer <L> over <BR>, but why not just keep <BR> and deprecate it?
Similarly, add <H>,<SECTION> and deprecate <H1>...<H6>?
And simply deprecate <IMG>.

> | they told me to use the latest standards available,
> The linked W3C document actually says: "Use W3C technologies when they are
> available and *appropriate* for a task and use the latest versions *when
> supported*." (Emphasis mine.)
> | Not deprecate it slowly over time, mind you, but just fucking drop it.
> There's no need for deprecation in a not backwards compatible language.

And perhaps that is one of the cruxes of the problem.  There have been too
many statements made of the form "We don't need to worry about FOO because
XHTML 2.0 is not a backwards compatible language".  These are a few
examples.  The lobbying to use cumbersome XLink syntax in an end user
document format is another.  "not backwards compatible" has become the most
abused cop-out for bad design in XHTML2.0.

> He doesn't seem to have realized that the major problem of XHTML in practice
> is, that it isn't supported by the major browser.

Why is that "the major problem"?

> Thus it's a good thing he
> returned to HTML4, although for the wrong reasons. He should have read
> <http://www.hixie.ch/advocacy/xhtml>, too.

I think he has (go read back entries on his blog).

>> I think there needs to be a serious reconsideration of XHTML2
>> as an effort at all.
> It should clearly be considered and advertised as a long term project.

And given lower priority than...

>> I'd rather see efforts spent on HTML4/XHTML1,1.1,Basic errata
>> and test suites.
> I agree that those shouldn't be considered final; e.g. there should be HTML
> 4.1 with SHORTTAG NO etc., resembling current browser behaviour like CSS
> 2.1.


>> [2] XHTML2.0 dumps harmless elements which folks have found
>> semantically useful.
> Which (except cite)? IMHO it's right to drop unneeded elements even if
> they're "harmless".

It's harmful to drop harmless elements.  At a minimum it makes sense to
deprecate them first.

>> It also dumps the extremely useful 'style' attribute
> Except for quick-n-dirty CSS test suites I can't see any use for it.

Then don't use it.  Plenty of other authors do see a use for it.

> It's
> fully replacable by id + CSS, too.

Only superficially.  Using id does not actually capture the full
capabilities of the 'style' attribute.

Received on Tuesday, 14 January 2003 07:56:08 UTC

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