Friday 23 July 2004

xhtml v. html: a tiresome debate

The W3C publishes the sixth draft of XHTML 2.0, and over at Slashdot, the HTML vs. XHTML debate continues. What a waste of energy, folks! Read more about my thoughts on this at the Web Standards Project (WaSP).

To sum up my perspective: Pick a markup language and use it well. HTML 4.01 and XHTML 1.0 are almost interchangeable in the way that they work. Use what you like to use, or what you have to use for a particular job or application, but what is with all the fuss? It’s such a ridiculous fight.

And a draft is a draft is a draft. When XHTML 2.0 becomes a recommendation it still doesn’t mean you have to use it! The only thing I want from people regarding this issue is to make informed decisions, not ones based in the heat of the moment.

Focusing on structure over presentation in our documents means simplification of markup. The more we can get our presentation out of the markup and into CSS for our unique circumstances, the better.

Would most agree that it’s the way we use markup rather than the actual language and language version that’s significant right now?

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 13:38 | Comments (14)

Comments (14)

  1. Pingback: MIME types matter; DOCTYPEs don't <Anne's Weblog about Markup & Style>

  2. That’s what I’d say, but then again… People are known for being stupid pompous asshats.

  3. People like to root for Team A or Team B. In this debate, they like to think they’re on the winning team, so they’ll argue it to death. I go through this everyday on 3dgpu, where people are on Team A or Team B based on their favorite video card. I have to remind them it’s about gaming, not the hardware you choose to use. Therefore I agree with you, the people are forgetting the bigger picture here, and fighting about it is pointless. Enjoyment is a subjective matter, we should all stick to what we enjoy and find the best for our needs.

  4. Striving for structure is in most cases the best way to go. Although organizing things rather than just hacking off and away is more time-consuming at first, it pays off in the long run. And what serious web project is not supposed to do that!

  5. To my way of thinking, the real conversation won’t come until browser support gets better for the xml prolog. There’s really not much of a difference between HTML 4.01 and XHTML served as HTML (which we kinda have to do right now because of “quirks” mode in IE6. So fighthing the relative advantages of one over the other is pointless right now.

    Give it 5 years – enough time for new browsers to come out and get installed on the majority of systems, and this discussion will radically different. Right now, in my opinion, it’s a matter of preference, and much ado about nothing.

  6. I agree, Molly. Any markup would do, and today, HTML 4.01 Strict is probably the best choice for most people. Maybe HTML 4.01 Transitional to some table-riders who haven’t discovered what CSS can accomplish yet.

    I think XHTML 2.0 will be a good specification, though. It’s not incredibly much more difficult than HTML4, but it’s a lot more thought through and consistent. It also gives a lot more functionality and simplifies some of the things that have always been difficult in HTML4.

    XHTML 2.0 will be a large step in the right direction, but we still need to wait for those darned browsers to support it. Internet Explorer will by best support it in 2006, but I wouldn’t place any large bets on it having any kind of XHTML support until 2007/2008, and for 2.0 we would probably have to wait until 2010, maybe even longer.

    Sjoerd Visscher[1] has a good idea on where to take the next step, by the way. Separation of structure and semantics. If the semantics could be layered on top of the structure, the structure could be as proprietary anyone would want them, but by the semantic meaning applied on the structure, anyone familiar with it could understand it.

    Namespaces do little to help there, really, since elements in different namespaces easilly could mean the same thing without wanting to apply the same namespace to them.


  7. PS: Your comment feed just screams 404 to me.

  8. Pingback: Turnip’s Patch » That little “XHTML or HTML?” debate

  9. Pingback: HTML or XHTML: A purist’s dilemma at: ara pehlivanian—Web Standards, Web Culture, Web Everything.™

  10. Pingback: Circle Six Blog » Blog Archive » Semantic Details

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