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   RE: why distinctions within XHTML?

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  • From: "Hunter, David" <dhunter@Mobility.com>
  • To: XML-Dev Mailing list <xml-dev@ic.ac.uk>
  • Date: Wed, 1 Sep 1999 10:29:52 -0400

> From: Mark Birbeck [mailto:Mark.Birbeck@iedigital.net]
> David Brownell wrote:
> > Mark Birbeck wrote:
> > > 
> > >  6. There are three variants of HTML 4.0 so we need three variants
> > >     of 'HTML 4.0 as XML' (let's call it XHTML).
> > 
> > Isn't that assertion pretty core to this debate?  That is, it's
> > not a generally accepted assumption.
> If you want to write something that transforms current HTML into XML,
> you need to go via an XML version of HTML. Since there are three
> versions of HTML, then you need three 'XML versions of HTML'. 
> To me that
> says nothing about the future direction of XHTML, or what future
> browsers will do, etc. It just says if you want to manipulate current
> documents, you have to accept they are in one of three dialects of the
> same language.

<?email snip?>

> That's good - and I'm sure 'modular' XHTML will address all those
> issues. But what about dealing with current problems? We need 
> a mark-up
> for transforming current HTML documents to XML. And when I say this, I
> don't mean converting:
> <TD ALIGN=LEFT>The Thin Red Line <B>1998</td>
> To:
> <TD ALIGN="LEFT">The Thin Red Line <B>1998</B></TD>
> That is converting it to an XML version of HTML, but there is no
> meta-information. I mean converting it to:
> <Film>
>     <Title>The Thin Red Line</Title>
>     <Year>1998</Year>
> </Film>

<?email snip?>

I think this post is slightly off topic, for talking about XHTML.  The
debate here is:

a)  Although there are currently three flavours of HTML 4, *should* those
three flavours also be mapped into three flavours of XHTML 1, or *should* we
strive for one flavour?

b)  *If* we *should* use three flavours of XHTML, is namespaces the way to
do it?

What you're describing above is not XHTML, but is some other XML vocabulary.
(That is, there is no <xhtml:Film/> tag.)  If you want to convert the HTML
above to some other XML vocabulary, go ahead.  There is nothing stopping you
from doing that today.  But if we want to convert that HTML above to XHTML,
with XHTML's defined set of tags, *then* you have to worry about whether
XHTML should be using three namespaces or not.

Even if you want to take your other XML vocabulary and display it directly
in a browser you can do that;  CSS can do that today.  But it still isn't

David Hunter
MediaServ Information Architects

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