Re: XHTML Family Documents and Media Types

On 17 Mar 2008, at 20:06, Mark Birbeck wrote:
> XHTML 1.0 was incredibly important for HTML because it told people how
> to generate XML documents that could be rendered in web browsers. In
> other words, the world of XML tools could be used to generate
> documents, and yet those documents could still be read in standard
> browsers.

Transforming XHTML to HTML with XSLT is trivial. If the document  
isn't being processed as XML, then what's the benefit of using XHTML  
over HTML? It just means that HTML parsers are effectively forbidden  
from implementing <foo /> according to HTML 4.01.

> But why insist that browsers must interpret those documents as XML?
> For example, sending a non-well formed XHTML document to Firefox means
> you get a blank page with lots of hyphens and a caret...what use is
> that to anyone? And worse, it goes against the whole history of HTML,
> where attempts are made to render documents that have errors in.

Good reasons to either

(a) Have good tools that won't let you produce pages with such errors  
in them


(b) Use HTML

> Of course, the HTML 5 route, of trying to recover from every error is
> in my view, just as bizarre,

If throwing an error message when the document is not well formed is  
of no use to anyone, and recovering from every well formedness error  
is bizarre, what does that leave?

> but that doesn't really matter. The key
> point is that there should be nothing wrong with creating a document
> using XML tools, and then delivering that document to an HTML
> rendering engine and seeing something useful.

Works for me. I process various bits of data, some in a database,  
some in static files, some from URIs on the web, process them with  
XML tools and output various things - mostly HTML 4.01 Strict and ATOM 

> That's what most of the world is doing, after all.

Most of the world is throwing tag soup about with graphical HTML  
generators and string substitution. XML tools aren't involved all  
that often.

David Dorward

Received on Monday, 17 March 2008 20:23:51 UTC