Re: [increasingly OT--but it's Saturday night] Re: Unicode HTML, download

From: fantasai (
Date: Mon Nov 22 2004 - 02:17:50 CST

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    Philippe Verdy wrote:
    > From: "E. Keown" <>
    > You probably don't need full XHTML conformance too, but having your
    > document respect the XML nesting and closure of elements is certainly a
    > must today, because it avoids most interoperability problems in browsers.

    This is a myth. A valid HTML document is as syntactically unambiguous
    as a valid XHTML document. Using valid XHTML instead of valid HTML
    does not alleviate any interoperability problems in web browsers --
    they all know the well-defined rules for handling elements with optional
    closing tags.

    Most interoperability problems in browsers are in the DOM and CSS,
    certainly not in the parsing of valid HTML.

    > And then don't embed structural block elements
    > within inline elements

    This is also a requirement of valid HTML.

    > XHTML has deprecated most inline style elements,

    By virtue of defining its semantics through the earlier HTML 4.01
    specification, which deprecated those elements.

    > in favor of external specification of style through the class property
    > added to structural block elements.

    This is false. Stylistic markup has been deprecated in favor of styling
    with style sheets. There is no recommendation for associating style with
    the class attribute instead of, for example, the tag name or the element's
    ID, and certainly no recommendation advocating the styling of block
    elements but not inline elements. Both types of elements are necessary
    for a well-marked document.

    > XHTML has an excellent interoperability with a wider
    > range of browsers, including old ones, except for the effective
    > rendering of some CSS styles.

    This is also false. XHTML-style emtpy tags (<tagname/>) only "work"
    because most browsers don't implement SGML properly and /happen/ to
    ignore the trailing slash. However, the Emacs-W3 web browser is known
    to correctly interpret the slash as ending the start tag, leaving the
    following > as character data. See
    This is further explained in "The Myth of HTML-compatible XHTML 1.0 documents"

    CSS is independent of the underlying markup. With a few exceptions for
    backwards-compatibility, does not care whether you use HTML or XHTML.

    > The cost to convert an HTML file to full XML well-formedness is minor
    > for you, but this allows you to use XML editors to make sure the
    > document is properly nested, a pre-condition that will greatly help its
    > interoperable interpretation.

    A good HTML editor can ensure proper nesting as well. Failing that,
    the W3C validator will catch such syntax errors.

    Unless you are using XML tools to parse or generate the document, there
    is no advantage to using XHTML.


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