W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > November 2006

Re: XHTML 1.0, section C14

From: Shane McCarron <shane@aptest.com>
Date: Tue, 21 Nov 2006 14:02:17 -0600
Message-ID: <45635B49.7070901@aptest.com>
To: "Jukka K. Korpela" <jkorpela@cs.tut.fi>
CC: www-html@w3.org

Jukka K. Korpela wrote:
> Immense waste of effort has been created by encourageing web authors 
> to use the "latest recommendation" in practical authoring. This was 
> probably seen as the only way to give XHTML a "push". But it was a big 
> mistake.
Latest Recommendation?  Are you serious?  XHTML 1 has been out for 7 
years... well, its been a Recommendation for 6 years.  Not exactly 
bleeding edge.
> Things would be different if a server could _know_, upon receiving a 
> request from a client, whether the client wants HTML 4.01 or XHTML and 
> the clients' requests would match their actual abilities. _This_ is 
> the problem that should be solved first. The current techniques for 
> browser sniffing, based on rejecting the information that IE sends in 
> Accept headers and trying to recognize the _browser_ might work in the 
> hands of educated authors, but they are surely not something that 
> should be recommended to authors in general.
This problem is "solved" because user agents send an HTTP-ACCEPT header 
that indicates the formats they are capable of handling for a given 
request.  If a user agent claims to support application/xhtml+xml then 
you SHOULD send your XHTML 1 document using that media type, and all 
will be well.  If a user agent only claims to support text/html, then 
you SHOULD send your document using that media type.  If your document 
is written in XHTML 1.0 and follows the guidelines in Appendix C, you 
can do this with the same document and you will be largely successful.  
In fact, and without any evidence to back this up, I would bet that such 
a document is almost exactly as likely to render correctly as if you 
sent it with the HTML 4.01 DOCTYPE.

And please, let's not devolve into a discussion about content 
negotiation.  The method above works.  Does it suck?  Sure.  Are there 
browsers that lie in their request headers?  I surely hope not, but if 
there are.... they deserve what they get.

Standards - they're not just for Geeks anymore.

Shane P. McCarron                          Phone: +1 763 786-8160 x120
Managing Director                            Fax: +1 763 786-8180
ApTest Minnesota                            Inet: shane@aptest.com
Received on Tuesday, 21 November 2006 20:02:49 UTC

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