W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > January 2009

Re: HTML 5 and XHTML 2 combined

From: Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis <bhawkeslewis@googlemail.com>
Date: Fri, 09 Jan 2009 12:49:31 +0000
Message-ID: <496747DB.9080301@googlemail.com>
To: Dustin Boyd <rpgfan3233@gmail.com>
CC: www-html@w3.org, Mark Birbeck <mark.birbeck@webbackplane.com>, Brett Patterson <inspiron.pattersonb@gmail.com>, David Woolley <forums@david-woolley.me.uk>, Molte <molte93@gmail.com>, Shavkat Karimov <shavkat@seomanager.com>

On 9/1/09 00:23, Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis wrote:
> On 8/1/09 22:47, Dustin Boyd wrote:
>> - Different multimedia formats, different programming languages and
>> even different ways to deliver a package were all designed with
>> different goals in mind, so why is it that HTML 5 and XHTML 2.0 are
>> unable to coexist?
> I don't see any reason why they can't coexist so long as processing
> requirements for HTML5 do not conflict with processing requirements for
> XHTML 2. As far as I know, they haven't since XHTML 2 moved out of the
> XHTML1 namespace.

Ahem. Someone has kindly pointed out to me that actually the draft 
hasn't been updated and XHTML 2 has been moved back into the XHTML1 
namespace. That being the case, I can't see how client software could 
implement both HTML5 and XHTML2, since they define different procesing 
requirements for elements and attributes in the same namespace.

Consider the XML:

<img src="cat.jpg">A black cat playing with a ball of string</img>

If a browser implements the HTML5 spec, then that must be treated as an 
image with missing alternative text. So a visual browser might either 
display the cat photo or a missing image icon, while a screen reader 
might ignore the image, read "image", or attempt to reconstruct 
alternative text from the src attribute ("cat").

If a browser implements the XHTML2 spec, then that must be treated as a 
cat photo with the alternative text "A black cat playing with a ball of 

Again, consider the XML::

<span href="http://www.w3.com">W3.com</span>

If a browser implements the HTML5 spec, that is just some text in a 
SPAN. If a browser implements the XHTML2 spec, that is a hyperlink.

Since popular browsers seem more interested in implementing HTML5 than 
XHTML2, this seems like a guarantee that they won't implement XHTML2, at 
least not as a whole, unless the specs converge on such points.

Of course, that doesn't prevent non-web-browser XML clients and 
generators implementing XHTML 2, allowing the standards to coexist in 
that sense.

For example, you could have a serverside database storing blog articles 
in XHTML 2 format, transform them to the XML serialization of HTML5 for 
output to web browsers, but dispatch them as XHTML 2 over WebDav to some 
sort of XML authoring tool on your desktop … or something.

Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis
Received on Friday, 9 January 2009 12:50:14 UTC

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