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   Re: [xml-dev] What are the arguments *for* XHTML 2.0?

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paul@prescod.net (Paul Prescod) writes:
>> Speaking as someone who's been using HTML for about eight years, I
>> have to say I can't really imagine why I'd want any of those things
>> directly in XHTML. XUL is interesting stuff, SVG is interesting
>> stuff, and RDF is interesting stuff, but those are all things that
>> go well with XHTML, not things that need to be bonded tightly with
>> XHTML. 
>That's a fair point of view. But are you willing to accept there may be 
>a day when the problems XHTML set out to solve are considered to be 
>adequately solved?

Of course.  I just don't think we're actually there yet.

>>Five years on I'm only starting to see Web 
>> developers consider XML a benefit rather than a nuisance, and XSLT's 
>> learning curve a plus rather than a minus.  I've yet to see anyone 
>> outside the XML community even express an interest in XLink or 
>How will they feel about yet more XML stuff shoved down their throat in 
>XHTML 2 if there is no clearly articulated vision of how it will make 
>their lives easier or better?

I think they'll resist it.  So far, however, XHTML 2.0 does NOT seem to
be about "yet more XML stuff shoved down their throat" - in fact, it
seems to finally refocus on the vocabulary and ways to improve it.

>Please elaborate. _What_ do they find interesting? What problems do
>they have that XHTML 2 will solve?

[excerpts of messages follow, with permission from writers]
I think it's definitely moving in the right direction.  Part of its
purpose seems to be to reduce the /clutter/ that you find with HTML. 
Such as, IIRC, getting rid of the <a> element by replacing it with the
href attribute.  And if the <nl> element can really work as the draft
suggests, then designers will be able to eliminate hundreds of lines of
javascript.  I also like the <section> element, which makes more sense
semantically than <div>.  If structure is your thing, then XHTML 2.0 is
fantastic. - Randal Rust

SECTION & H are much needed additions to firm up the structure of
documents. With the increased used of CSS, the (X)HTML landscape is
already suffering from an overuse of the DIVs and SPANs. Both elements
are something I've wanted for a long time.... Likely one of the most
controversial decisions was to drop IMG. Although I think it should
have been deprecated (like BR), the move away from IMG makes sense.
OBJECT offers more power than the lowly IMG tag, and is more
consistent. For example, the "longdesc" attribute is poorly supported
by most browsers. Now, OBJECT can contain the long description make it
more accessible to all and more efficient for people to create. It will
also allow multiple formats: If the browsers doesn't support SVG then
try Flash, if not try PNG, if not try GIF, if not show the long
description.  -Craig Saila

XHTML is still necessary because we need a general document format (by
'format' I mean 'XML-based format'). Document formats are powerful:
they provide semantic information. .... As for XHTML 2 overall, I think
it looks nice, although I think they should have been more brutal in
trimming HTML; it might even have been better to give it another name,
but I suppose they're hoping for 'brand recognition'... - Sam Marshall

Moving along, I do understand the idea of a <line> element. It seems to
me generally a Good Thing, and certainly is conceptually cleaner than
<br />. Question: is it inline or block? Another question: how does it
relate to the CSS line box? Is it a means of making said box explicit,
or is there still a line box within it? Or containing it? I expect
answers to those questions will be forthcoming as the spec evolves, so
in the meantime I'm satisfied that this element, at least, will be a
nice addition to my toolkit when and if it is ever supported. Much the
same can be said for the replacement of <img /> with <object>,
too. - Chris Kaminski

There were also plenty of questions about whether moving forward with
XHTML 2.0 when CSS 3.0 appears to be so slow in getting implementation,
considerable praise for XForms in general, and some interesting
questions about XHTML and Content Management Systems.

>I didn't ask for it to be halted. I asked for it to have a clear 
>statement of goals and acceptance requirements.

Maybe we should all pause for a few minutes and write up our own mission
statements, what we want to get accomplished, and what our criteria are
for acceptance.  As much as I dislike W3C process, I suspect they've
already been through this process at some level.  I'm not sure that a
requirements document would actually be helpful, either.

>> I'm not sure the XML community is a reasonable barometer for what is 
>> or is not appropriate to the future of (X)HTML, and perhaps for once 
>> we should leave such decisions to people who are actually focused on 
>> HTML. 
>I use HTML most days as I'm sure, do many other people on the list.

Using HTML is very different from focusing on HTML. This list doesn't
have much connection to the larger community of Web development per se.
My connections have grown more tenuous over time, but I do still spend
a lot of time keeping up with more typical creators on the Web than the
markup-focused folks who tend to participate on XML lists.  Their
priorities are very different (and I think properly so).

Simon St.Laurent
Ring around the content, a pocket full of brackets
Errors, errors, all fall down!
http://simonstl.com -- http://monasticxml.org


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