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Archive: 14 January 2003

Agony and Ivory

I’m feeling better, thanks.  About most things, anyway.

If you’re seeing layout or other rendering bugs on this site in Safari, as some people have said they are, please use the bug icon in the browser to report the problem.  I can’t run Safari or else I’d report problems myself.  Apparently there are some weirdnesses with the navigation links in the sidebar, if nothing else.  Whatever problem you see, it’s worth reporting, so please do.

Most of you probably already know that Mark Pilgrim is upset with XHTML 2.0, and many of you may be aware that Tantek and Daniel Glazman are in agreement.  I’m broadly sympathetic with their frustrations, but since I was never that thrilled with XHTML in the first place, I can’t get too worked up about the breaks between 1.x and 2.0.  I never really got why HTML had to be reformulated as XML.  Yes, I’ve read all the arguments about later ease of conversion and all that.  I suppose there was some good in easing authors into XML authoring habits using a language they mostly recognized.  That just didn’t seem like enough.  This site has been, and continues to be, HTML 4.01 Transitional for a reason.

I do broadly agree that XHTML 2.0 is way too unrealistic for its own good.  It outright drops too many things authors find useful, like the style attribute (although I admit I’m biased there) and heading elements.  For that matter, yes, Virginia, there is a difference between abbr and acronym, so dropping either one seems like a mistake.  On the other hand, if this stuff was deprecated instead of eliminated, I’d have many fewer points of concern about XHTML 2.0.  I’d be worried that the deprecated stuff would be dropped in the next version of XHTML, but XHTML 2.0 would bother me less.

Then again, given that you can take XML and CSS and create your own documents out of whatever markup language you can invent, and use XSLT to bridge the gap between old browsers and new ones, I find XHTML to be of minor import.  If it gets too ivory, then it will be ignored, and some other XML-based language will take it place.  Or, more likely, lots of markup languages.  Either way it will be interesting, and the XHTML 2.0 advocates won’t be able to blame anyone else for the explosion of non-interoperable languages.  Which, I suppose, is the point of all the sturm und drang of late.  If XHTML 2.0 were interoperable with XHTML 1.1, people wouldn’t be nearly so upset.

Wow… all this concern over making things work together.  Can it be that the Web is getting all growed up?

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