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   RE: [xml-dev] XHTML survival rate?

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Doug Ransom wrote:

> I suspect search engines are likely to favor compliant
> html more than uncompliant html.

That's how to increase the uptake of xhtml!

Start a FUD story that the search engine rankings of pages 
will drop if they're not in xhtml. That way, we'll all 
receive 50 spam messages a day telling us we have to 
upgrade to xhtml, and how to do it, for a small/large fee. 
I am only half joking about this :-)

A short story that illustrates two related points:

We did a simple advertisement page for display on 
Yahoo.co.uk last year. As with all of our pages, I told our 
designer, (who designed the page using DreamWeaver), to use 

But Yahoo.co.uk insist that all HTML submitted to them 
passes WEBLINT with no errors or warnings. WEBLINT which is 
a little Perl script that checks for the sorts of errors 
that people tend to make when they are coding HTML by hand. 
But WEBLINT has remained essentially the same for the last 
5 years, so anything invented in the last years induces 
warnings. Here is one of the multitude of sites that hosts 
an online version of WEBLINT.


WEBLINT complained about all of our CSS declarations and 
attributes. But we submitted the page to Yahoo.co.uk 
anyway, thinking that they would overlook the CSS-related 
warnings, since that would be the common-sense thing to do. 
Back came the reply "No warnings from weblint". "But," we 
protested, "This displays fine in 99.99% of existing 
browsers. have you checked any browser statistics lately? 
Everything supports CSS, at least the way we've used it 
here". Back came the reply "No warnings from weblint."

So we took all of the CSS declarations out, and replaced 
them <FONT> tags, etc, until it passed through weblint, and 
Yahoo.co.uk accepted it no problem.

The two points I wanted to make are

1. Xhtml won't take off until a 5 year-old child can do it. 
There needs to be a WEBLINT style script/service that 
checks pages for xhtml compliance, that is *extemely 
simple* to use. If users have to download and run xml 
parsers/validators, with all of the related technical 
difficulties, then it's just not going to happen.

2. Organisations like Yahoo will hold you back anyway, 
because A: They couldn't care less about standards 
compliance. They only care about people being able to view 
their content with the software they already have. and B: 
The bloat of such organisations means that even when it is 
the completely sensible thing to do to upgrade to newer 
tools and standards, organisational sloth and human 
laziness will ensure that it doesn't happen for several 
years, at best.

So getting back to the FUD story about NOT being xhtml 
compliant .........

Or maybe I'm just too cynical ;-)


Alan Kennedy.

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