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Re: XHTML Considered Harmful

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Wed, 27 Jun 2001 00:41:33 -0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
To: Arjun Ray <aray@q2.net>
cc: <www-talk@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.WNT.4.31.0106270035000.1068-100000@HIXIE.netscape.com>
On Wed, 27 Jun 2001, Arjun Ray wrote:
> The idea that non-geeks should respect geeky niceties is Canutism at
> its worst. "Zero tolerance" is one thing if end-users can be made to
> expect it; it's another when precisely the opposite is the
> expectation being sold to the public.

I would tend to agree with this. I don't think we (the W3C and its
community) should be bothering to promote "compatability" of XHTML and
Tag Soup. Here is how I think it should work:

  1. Document authors use Tag Soup (text/html).
  2. UAs begin to support XHTML.
  3. XHTML-supporting UAs are distributed to the internet population.
  4. Document authors use XHTML (text/xml).

Step 1 is fully in force right now.

Step 2 is just beginning (Netscape 6.1 PR1 has pretty solid XHTML
support, for instance, as does MacIE to some extent). Step 2 will take
a while, especially if Microsoft keep the stance they gave at WWW10.

Step 3 will take a few years.

Step 4 is in the future.

I get the impression, however, that "people" would like Step 4 to
happen right away, regardless of there being any XHTML UAs around. I
fail to understand the point of that. All I see are many reason not to
do it, the primary one being that it will cause XHTML UAs to have to
be backwards compatible with a premature Step 4's supposedly-XHTML
content which works in today's browsers... otherwise known as Tag
Soup. Welcome back to Step 1.

Ian Hickson                                            )\     _. - ._.)   fL
Invited Expert, CSS Working Group                     /. `- '  (  `--'
The views expressed in this message are strictly      `- , ) -  > ) \
personal and not those of Netscape or Mozilla. ________ (.' \) (.' -' ______
Received on Wednesday, 27 June 2001 03:41:57 UTC

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