[wp-hackers] WordPress, web standards, and (X)HTML

Sam Angove sam at rephrase.net
Tue Dec 5 11:50:53 GMT 2006

On 12/5/06, Computer Guru <computerguru at neosmart.net> wrote:
> My point is, HTML4 is old and decrepit. Whether in a year or 5, we *will*
> switch to pure XHTML. Using HTML4 now simply means having to do a lot more
> work later. If we can continue to use our XHTML-as-HTML implementation
> without problems (this is all "theoretical" problems in the here and now, no
> actual, real-world issues) and ease the transition later, whyever not?

So, let me get this straight: you want to use XHTML-as-`text/html` now
to lower your switching costs to "pure XHTML" later?

> We have number 1 down just fine, and 2, and 3.
> So long as you *don't* do number 4, ABSOLOUTELY NOTHING WRONG OR BAD OR

To "switch to pure XHTML" *means* serving the documents as
`application/xhtml+xml`. i.e., it means #4.

Yes, you won't face any switching costs unless you switch. Nothing
wrong or harmful will happen until you switch. That's why it's called
a switching cost.

The point of Hixie's piece is that using XHTML-as-`text/html`
introduces new costs. If you want to have a painless upgrade path,
it's not the way to go.

> * HTML 4.01 contains everything that XHTML 1.0 contains, so there is
>    little reason to use XHTML in the real world. It appears the main
>    reason is simply "jumping on the bandwagon" of using the latest and
>    (perceived) greatest thing.
> Obviously the author thinks XHTML is useless and a "fanciful" standard. BS.
> As is mentioned, this document WAS WRITTEN IN 2002!!! THINGS CHANGE.

How, specifically, is he wrong?

> Which is correct. But as they said, only a "fully compliant HTML4 user
> agent" and there is none. Every single browser out there (I've checked)
> understands and circumvents this on its own.

The original message *was* talking Web standards. Relying on every
user-agent being broken in the same way has nothing at all to do with
standards. "Validation" is irrelevant if proper display of the
document relies on it being rendered incorrectly.

Anyway, I'm not trying to convince anyone to change. I'd have to clean
my own house first. I just wanted to reiterate that, yes,
XHTML-as-`text/html` can be harmful.

More information about the wp-hackers mailing list