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Re: [xml-dev] XHTML 2 Working Group won't be renewed?

The problem that xhtml 2.0 faced (and any xhtml adoption for that matter) is that you're still dealing with the Coding Granny Argument, something that is used extensively by the HTML purist crowd who frankly do NOT want to see XML adopted as a lingua franca, especially
for expressing HTML.

Most of you have seen the argument, of course. It runs along the lines of "HTML has to be accessible to non-programmers. My grandmother should be able to write HTML code, even if its ill-formed, and have the browser magically "know" what was the intent of such code, otherwise there will be no adoption of HTML.

In practice, this argument is specious in the extreme.  The eponymous coding granny is far more likely  to be writing in a blog engine or wiki in which the input of content is almost certainly going to be filtered into a final form for storage, they will likely end up using perhaps two tags, <i> and <b>, and may even by using a WYSIWYG editor that will let her incorporate code programatically. It is not, in fact, this user that the argument is intended to protect, but rather the coder with bad programming habits.

Most framework libraries are unfortunately written by people who may be good Java or Python or JavaScript of PHP programmers but who have either been seduced by the notion that HTML can be lazy or are in fact just sloppy. The irony, of course, is that in nearly all computer languages, if you violate syntactical rules, the program won't compile. Why HTML has to be the one language that violates this has never been clear. What's even worse, I can see it for HTML 4.1, because that language was approved at a time when HTML was still coded largely by hand, and as such there is a large block of legacy code that needs to be supported. However, why HTML 5 needs to conform to this absurdity is still beyond me, and I've yet to see a truly valid reason for not mandating just an XML format.

There is a second facet to these arguments. The HTML crowd hates, fears and despises namespaces. Again namespaces mess too much with the Coding Granny argument, and they add to the complexity of writing inline HTML content for all of those AJAX programmers who tend to think that the only relevant angle bracket language is HTML. If Ian Hixie acknowledges the XML argument, then he also has to acknowledge the validity of namespaces, and I suspect this is a non-starter for him. By keeping the two languages "separate but equal" he gets his namespace free language and can then work towards eliminating namespaces from the spec down the road.

There's supposed to be an extensibility workshop in September at one of the F2Fs where namespaces in general will be hashed out - I plan to be monitoring that one carefully, as I suspect that there will be a move to "fix" namespaces in a way that will have long term negative repercussions for the XML community.

Kurt Cagle
Managing Editor

On Wed, Jul 8, 2009 at 11:51 AM, Jim Tivy <jimt@bluestream.com> wrote:
We have an Xml content management system.  We currently have a customer
prospect seeking SGML support.  Turns out few vendors are supporting SGML
anymore and we never plan to support it.  What this means to Xml content
management is SGML and HTML gets stored as binary files - there being two
kinds of files in our system: Xml and Binary.  Whereas, XHTML is stored as
Xml and is thus enabled for the full processing capable - including link
mining and checking.

Whether HTML-5 is the path to a fully Xml compliant XHTML (including
namespaces) or whether XHTML-2 is I don't know.  Seems like XHTML 1 and 1.1
have established XHTML.

I think SGML needs to die out as do its descendants like HTML.  The W3C
should say in the HTML5 specification that the SGML serialization is
deprecated. Perhaps new features do not have an SGML serialization. I really
don't think young people are learning SGML and I never plan to learn it.

As a small point, perhaps a mime type called text/xhtml needs to be used
rather than the longer application/xhtml+xml.

As well, I thought the buzz on the street for website builders was to use
XHTML transitional.



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