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What is wrong with xhtml 1.0?

From: Chris Casciano <chris@placenamehere.com>
Date: Wed, 15 Jan 2003 13:47:00 -0500
To: <www-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <BA4B16D4.3FF2A%chris@placenamehere.com>

[I've been waiting patiently for a good spot in the original thread to join
in but it seems to have splintered into a few side conversations already, so
please excuse the new topic]

There have been many views expressed on XHTML 2.0, both on list and on the
web, the following isn't one of them. Instead I'd like to take a step back
and express what I've found is /wrong/ with XHTML 1.0 that I'd like to see
addressed by this group.

Background: I have been a web developer since my first production gig in
'97. For the last year or so I have been using XHTML 1.0 strict+CSS on about
60% of my projects. The other 40% of my projects I've needed to use another
DTD (usually html 4 trans) due to the realities of web development life.

Over the course of that time I have found XHTML 1.0 to mostly suit my
development needs. I don't often find myself feeling constricted nor do I
often have to hijack existing tags to use them for unintended purposes (e.g.
tables for layout). However, there are a few places where I find myself
consistently in a jam and using the same "hacks" to get out of them. It's
these shortcomings in XHTML 1.0 that I'd like to see addressed (in future
versions of xhtml 1.0, if there is one, or perhaps in an updated 2.0 draft).

[1] I find myself consistently having to use the DIV tag to define sections
of my documents in order to apply appropriate styling. In this I am in
agreement with the direction XHTML2 has taken with section tag. (I won't
post code as this is a pretty obvious situation.)

[2] Very often I need to represent some information/data in a document. This
is generally some single record from a database, so I don't find a table
appropriate. Recently I have been hijacking definition lists for these

        <dt>Link</dt><dd><a href="fotsm/20021129/">fotsm/20021129/</a></dd>
        <dt>Band Name</dt><dd>F.O. The Smack Magnet</dd>
        <dt>Show Date</dt><dd>2002/11/29</dd>
        <dt>Location</dt><dd>South Orange, NJ</dd>

The other alternative that I see is to make up my own XML-ish language
represented by classes:

<div class="record">
        <span class="link"><a
        <span class="name">F.O. The Smack Magnet</span>
        <span class="showdate">2002/11/29</span>
        <span class="venue">Bunny's</span>
        <span class="location">South Orange, NJ</span>

As I said, I very often find myself in this scenario. And while it works,
both from a validation and a styling perspective, I'm not very happy with
the markup. What I'm longing for is a better way of representing key-value
pairs in a document.

[3] Less generically then in #2 I find there are a few pieces of information
I often have to mark up regularly that I find no current tag for. I just
want to go on the record to say that I use these regularly, as I have not
formed an opinion on whether making each one into its own tag would be
appropriate, but like <q>, I do find myself needed to represent these
elements often in my documents (mostly in order to style them and form a
visual distinction from the surrounding text). To form this list I've simply
scanned trough some recent documents and looked to see what classes I've had
to create and deploy regularly.

* Phyiscal Address - displaying an address, in particularly as a block level
element. It's one of the rare places I use <br /> these days... Line (from
XHTML2) would help greatly but I'd still have to represent the entire
address as a classed div.
* Date - without trying to create DateML or CalendarML I do find myself
often having to use <span class="date"> in my documents to distinguish a
date apart from other information.
* Note - perhaps it is just my writing style, but I find myself often with
the need to distinguish a note (either inline with span or designating a <p
class="note">. Something like the following wouldn't be unheard of in my
style sheets:
    span.note { font-style:italic; }
    span.note:before { content:"NOTE: "; }

I've used many other classes throughout my markup career, but most of the
time I'm comfortable with their usage -- where the data I'm marking up is
truly a "type-of". Its just in the above cases, where I revert to regularly
creating my own elements w/span/div+class, that I feel could be looked at by
this group.

I'm sure much of this has been discussed on this list at some time in the
past along the way to xhtml 2.0, so excuse my ignorance, but with all of the
discussion over the last few days I needed to take this step back for myself
before I dove into the rest of the discussions.

[ Chris Casciano ]  [ chris@placenamehere.com ]
[ see things  @  http://www.placenamehere.com ]
[ read words   @   http://www.chunkysoup.net/ ]
[ buy prints @ http://placenamehere.com/store ]
Received on Wednesday, 15 January 2003 13:50:30 UTC

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