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View Poll Results: What DTD do you use?

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  • HTML (no DTD)

    6 3.30%
  • HTML 4.01 Strict

    38 20.88%
  • HTML 4.01 Transitional (this includes all subtypes)

    12 6.59%
  • XHTML 1.0 Strict

    80 43.96%
  • XHTML 1.0 Transitional

    46 25.27%
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  1. #76
    SitePoint Addict drjones013's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lloydi View Post
    Seeing as this discussion started with a mention of my book, I thought I should have my say ...

    As far as advocating XHTML strict, it was more for the purposes of advocating good coding practice than it was to achieve the 'real' benefits that
    XHTML offers, that being HTML that could be parsed and treated like a web app; also, it was what SitePoint tended to want (I can remember that in Stuart Langridge's Unobtrusive JavaScript on SitePoint, he opted for HTML 4.01 and felt quite strongly that this was the right way to go, but as I understand it he had to fight his cause).

    As for not explaining why XHTML Strict and not sone other flavour, you really just have to take in to consideration the intended audience for this - the *complete* beginner. Discussing the fine points and trying to explain the differences/benefits of each would be lost on the audience.

    Personally, I would have been happy to use HTML 4.01, mention XHTML in passing and ensure that I didn't use any HTML 4.01 markup that is deprecated.
    Incidentally I have to say that I really, REALLY appreciate the mentality here; I have friends and coworkers who claim to know web design but still don't know what a DTD is. If they'd been trained to write clean tag in the beginning I might not have had half of the development issues that occurred during a recent project (it eventually boiled down to me creating a template and smacking people for not following it). Teaching the right way (because XHTML forces a certain tag methodology, HTML still allows strange things like the omission of certain tags) saves a lot of time versus having a noob look through old argument like this

  2. #77
    SitePoint Wizard drhowarddrfine's Avatar
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    Actually, I tend to use the 1.1 DTD in most of my documents.
    You shouldn't and you have no need to.
    XHTML is used if you require XML statements; the only thing is, IE does not support it. By and far IE is the most commonly used browser on the planet
    Thus holding back web development in this and other ways.

  3. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by scribbz View Post
    I guess I don't understand just one thing. If XHTML is the successor of HTML
    It isn't. It's just a reformulation of HTML as an application of XML 1.0.

    Quote Originally Posted by scribbz View Post
    Aren't the methods and practice behind XHTML more modern and up to date?
    No, they are not. The syntax rules are simpler and more consistent, that's all.

    Quote Originally Posted by scribbz View Post
    I personally always code for XHTML but was suprised to read people religiously stick to HTML 4 still on here.
    That's probably because 80% of the people surfing the web use browsers that do not support XHTML at all (Internet Explorer). HTML 4.01 is the latest W3C markup recommendation with any support worth mentioning.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raffles View Post
    That's why they employ people like AutisticCuckoo to make their websites.
    You're making me blush!

    Quote Originally Posted by markbrown4 View Post
    I use XHTML Strict because I like the syntax and I think it enforces better coding standards.
    How, exactly, does it 'enforce' better coding standards? Unless you always serve it as application/xhtml+xml, of course. If you serve it as text/html it is HTML. You'll get away with uppercase tags, unquoted attribute values, missing end tags, unescaped ampersands, using document.write() and all that.
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  4. #79
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    To clear up a few misconceptions:

    XHTML is from 1999. That's far from new. It was never adopted by mainstream browsers (that's the IE series), and being adopted by a few minority browsers over the last few years still leaves it irrelevant.

    Valid markup does not mean a document is accessible or cross browser compatible.

    The W3 did not create the internet, or html. Tim Berners Lee created the world wide web and html, then several years later founded the W3.

    The anti-Microsoft kiddies spouting the usual ill-informed rhetoric need to go have a looksee at who sits on the W3's board. Then they need to actually browse the internet for a while. Most of the web doesn't validate, does function, and works in non-MS browsers.

    It cannot be argued that html standards are necessary when so much of the internet doesn't follow them. At the end of the day they're optional and there's no advantage or disadvantage to using them. It's a personal preference of the developer and that's about it.

  5. #80
    SitePoint Addict drjones013's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stillinbeta View Post
    It cannot be argued that html standards are necessary when so much of the internet doesn't follow them. At the end of the day they're optional and there's no advantage or disadvantage to using them. It's a personal preference of the developer and that's about it.
    I can't say that I argue with the standards versus non-standards argument; there are certainly a lot of sites that don't validate. I will say that if I were to do website maintenance on say Google I'd have an aneurism probably followed by a massive coronary.

    Standards from the browser end, absolutely, what's a standard, if it isn't I can render it in HTML GIGO. From the web designer end, unless my client is going to keep me on retainer I want to make sure that all of the maintenance people after me know and are capable of upkeeping the site without calling me in the wee hours of the morning. That's the only argument that I have towards standards (other than less development time/troubleshooting); I want other people to know what I'm doing and why.

  6. #81
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Tailslide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldiesmann View Post
    I also haven't figured out why the target attribute is being deprecated - it leaves us with no way to open links in new windows if the user has JavaScript disabled (a rare occurrence, but you never know).
    The reason is that this sort of browser behaviour (opening new windows or tabs) should be up to the user to decide when they set up their browser. Many people (me included) find new windows opening on links very irritating.

    There are a few exceptions when it can be helpful for new windows to open such as the help pages for a complex form for instance - but in most cases JS can be used to do that in an accessible manner (so that if JS is off the user gets a "normal" link).
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  7. #82
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    @ drjones013

    I don't think there's a relationship between html standards and maintainability, development time or troubleshooting.

    Those come down entirely to good coding/project practices - which aren't a part of html standards - like consistent indenting, file/path structures, linking policities etc. Those factors mean much more on an inherited project than validation ever has.

  8. #83
    SitePoint Enthusiast PeteWJ's Avatar
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    As far as I am concerned, it's down to the requirement of the site and the preference of the coder or designer.
    Web design and development is a craft - and, like most crafts I think one needs to understand the rules, boundaries and standards in order to know when to bend, misuse, or ignore them altogether. Anyone who discounts web standards because they "don't see the point", or "can't be bothered" are, in my view, extremely arrogant and lazy. But until the browsers consistently catch up with the standards (I'm looking at you Microsoft!) these people will continue to hold this opinion.

    For my money I like good, clean, semantic coding in the same way that I like good, clean, semantic visual design. They go hand-in-hand, as far as I am concerned.

    I go for XHTML 1.0 Strict - but then, I'm playing with CSS and AJAX most of the time so, to me, it's a natural choice. But then, I'm also from an XML background so it's probably something to do with my comfort zone as well!

  9. #84
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    I'm yet to hear a single, valid point for why html standards shouldn't be disregarded.

    It's some 8 years since a new html spec was released, during that time other technologies have continued to evolve. It could almost be argued that html has gone wherever it was destined to go. There is of course the various drafts of an xhtml 2.0 spec, but completion and adoption could easily be more than a decade away.

    I've heard it said many times that it's unprofessional or amateurish or whatever to ignore them but nobody's been able to say why. I like that people are able to label others as arrogant/lazy etc without any justification though. That kind of childish elitism just makes me giggle - validating html is hardly an accomplishment.

    Anyway. Semantic coding is important, much, much more than validation. Good coding practices, like I mentioned before, are what really make a project sustainable. Since html can be both semantic and invalid though it's really not an argument for html standards.

    What exactly is an "XML background"? XML is just a means of formatting data.

  10. #85
    SitePoint Author silver trophybronze trophy

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    Quote Originally Posted by stillinbeta View Post
    I'm yet to hear a single, valid point for why html standards shouldn't be disregarded.
    Why are standards good? Because it gives all parties something to work from.

    Why do modern buildings use standard sizes for doors and windows? Doesn't that limit the architect's artistic freedom? No, it just makes it a lot easier to order a new door from whatever supplier you choose.

    Why are there standard sizes for nuts and bolts? Because you don't want to have to go to a blacksmith every time you need to replace one. You just want to go into your hardware store and buy what you need, off the shelf, and know that it will fit.

    Web standards are important for exactly the same reasons. Browser vendors can write parsers and rendering engines that comply with established standards. Designers and developers can generate markup and style sheets that comply with the same standards and have a reasonable chance that it will work in most browsers.

    Unfortunately this business is still young and immature, and the standards are not fully in place yet. Thus we have to live with the hassle of writing browser hacks. If everyone complied with W3C's recommendations, we wouldn't have to.

    Quote Originally Posted by stillinbeta View Post
    I've heard it said many times that it's unprofessional or amateurish or whatever to ignore them but nobody's been able to say why.
    For the same reasons an architect who designs a building with 217 cm high doors won't be very popular.

    Quote Originally Posted by stillinbeta View Post
    Anyway. Semantic coding is important, much, much more than validation.
    How can you presume to have any semantics if the code is invalid? What are the benefits of using a non-standard tag with a purported 'semantic' name, like <book> if no user agent knows what to do with it?
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  11. #86
    SitePoint Enthusiast PeteWJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stillinbeta View Post
    I like that people are able to label others as arrogant/lazy etc without any justification though. That kind of childish elitism just makes me giggle - validating html is hardly an accomplishment.
    I believe that if someone is not willing to learn the standards of their chosen profession - whether they use them or not - are arrogant and lazy. And, you're right, validating HTML is not that difficult an accomplishment, which makes it all the more odd to me that more people don't do it.

    Quote Originally Posted by stillinbeta View Post
    Anyway. Semantic coding is important, much, much more than validation. Good coding practices, like I mentioned before, are what really make a project sustainable. Since html can be both semantic and invalid though it's really not an argument for html standards.
    Again - agreed on the fact that semantic coding is very important - however the markup has to reference a standard or it is next to useless. As for good coding practice - in the team developments that I have been involved with, using determined web standards as a baseline has ensured that all coders in the team produce code that can be more readily understood by others.

    Quote Originally Posted by stillinbeta View Post
    What exactly is an "XML background"? XML is just a means of formatting data.
    I have previously worked in a company providing XML messaging and web services between systems - focussing on schema validation, XSLT and UI. Hence my preference for content to be enclosed in strict XML markup.

  12. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    Why are standards good?
    I've not suggested standards are bad.

    Browser vendors can write parsers and rendering engines that comply with established standards. Designers and developers can generate markup and style sheets that comply with the same standards and have a reasonable chance that it will work in most browsers.
    That would be in a perfect world where there was only one rendering engine and browsers were built around it. While there's one set of instructions being followed by independent groups of programmers the results vary.

    Unfortunately this business is still young and immature, and the standards are not fully in place yet. Thus we have to live with the hassle of writing browser hacks. If everyone complied with W3C's recommendations, we wouldn't have to.
    When does it stop being young and immature exactly? It's 18 years since TBL thought up html, and html standards themselves are some 15 years old.

    If html standards were going to be embraced it would have happend already. The next incarnation of html could be well over a decade away before it's completed and implented and that's assuming html is not made redundant before then.

    How can you presume to have any semantics if the code is invalid? What are the benefits of using a non-standard tag with a purported 'semantic' name, like <book> if no user agent knows what to do with it?
    Semantic html is structured so software can be written to understand the meaning of the data, as opposed to blindly associating visual formats with tags.

    It's often discussed in conjunction with validation but the two are different and seperate.

    <h1>a heading <p>a paragraph</p> is both invalid and semantic. It's invalid because the h1 was not closed, but it's semantic because the meaning of the text is identified to the browsers.

  13. #88
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    I believe that if someone is not willing to learn the standards of their chosen profession - whether they use them or not - are arrogant and lazy.
    I doubt anyone's actually learnt all the standards of web development given that there's many thousands of pages of them.

    Or did you mean they just learn by trial and error bashing refresh on the w3's validator until they fix whatever errors were listed?

    Or did you mean the non-existant standards of the profession itself?

    Quote Originally Posted by PeteWJ View Post
    all coders in the team produce code that can be more readily understood by others.
    How much of that is because of general good practices? Formatting, semantic structure, commenting where appropriate etc lends far more to a quick understanding than closing tags.

  14. #89
    SitePoint Member intothemiddle's Avatar
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    AutisticCuckoo, I agree, I think the massive amount of invalid markup being created by those who don't believe its worthwhile is holding back a more advanced web.

    If everyone had created standards compliant sites, then interacting with them, integrating them, or even creating other applications that could use other sites with the knowledge that it's all properly formatted.

    If you code any other language there are strict rules to creating anything. Coding standards are there for a reason, like standards in society.

    If we all worked to the one standard (be that HTML or XHTML) then browser manufacturers would have to think differently and the whole intergalacticsuperhighwaywebnet would be a much better place for it - just as we must have an overall preference for being a cultured society over barbaristic methods of dealing with others.

    A good example which was mentioned here is opening new windows with targets. XHTML Strict loses this and everyone complains that they're losing functionality. Perhaps that function should of never been your choice as the developer. It's only because we've been allowed to do this that no longer having it is seen as another loss / disadvantage. Would we need all these pop up blockers etc if there was only the 1 browser window to work in.

    This is almost a 'why have the internet'.. is it for business, for trying to express freedom, for information, for everything...?

    We're all here with different jobs within the industry or related to, we all share differing knowledge and opinions, but we're all trying to communicate in the same standard way. Except.. if suddenly I start just using my "own words" then would people ever bother to listen?

    The truth is, since browsers started to build in code for malformed code the chance of standards ever being truly standardised passed. That doesn't mean as a group we shouldn't be aiming for A standard, whether that be HTML or XHTML, this has to start at the individual level though and heres where you'll get the largest problem. Everyone always wants to be right, to believe that their initial opinion is the right one because it's what the first learnt.

    The same way people had major issues accepting the world wasn't flat... no one wants to believe that using the knowledge of a heliocentric universe would be beneficial over having to change their whole schema of knowledge on a flat world.. the same then for string theory in comparison.

    There will always be those who believe the world is flat (without standards). I think the argument would be different if it just came down to a web standards vs freedom to code whatever, as opposed to arguing over which standard to use. It's just made it a mass of bickering over tiny issues in differences between HTML and XHTML rather than why use this standard.

    Name an IT based language thats outside the web that allows bad code to be generated and then 'fixed' by the engine.

  15. #90
    SitePoint Author silver trophybronze trophy

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    Quote Originally Posted by stillinbeta View Post
    I've not suggested standards are bad.
    You seemed to propose that the HTML 'standard' should be disregarded. I may have misunderstood you, though.


    Quote Originally Posted by stillinbeta View Post
    That would be in a perfect world where there was only one rendering engine and browsers were built around it. While there's one set of instructions being followed by independent groups of programmers the results vary.
    If you believe that, I'm afraid you don't understand the concept of a 'standard'. Of course there are often more than one way to accomplish a given complex task, but if you comply with a standard, the details will be understood by all parties regardless of the overall solution.

    Quote Originally Posted by stillinbeta View Post
    When does it stop being young and immature exactly?
    Probably not until web designers and developers stop being young and immature.
    The standards exist. It's the people who choose not to follow them, because they are inexperienced and do not grasp the advantages of everyone playing by the same rule book.

    Quote Originally Posted by stillinbeta View Post
    Semantic html is structured so software can be written to understand the meaning of the data, as opposed to blindly associating visual formats with tags.
    You're right about semantics, but you left out an important part: the software must 'understand' the markup in order to know what to do with it. I don't know where the 'blindly associating visual format with tags' comes from. The set of element types in HTML 4.01 Strict and XHTML 1.0 Strict have nothing to do with presentation, except for a few (B, I, etc.) that are there to allow us to adhere to long-standing typographic conventions in the absence of appropriate semantic element types. (A generic markup language cannot convey all possible semantics.)

    Quote Originally Posted by stillinbeta View Post
    <h1>a heading <p>a paragraph</p> is both invalid and semantic. It's invalid because the h1 was not closed, but it's semantic because the meaning of the text is identified to the browsers.
    No, it's not semantic either. Unless you indend the paragraph to be part of the heading, which doesn't fall within the normal definition of heading (or paragraph).
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  16. #91
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Tailslide's Avatar
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    The thing that amuses me is that if you're writing a script with JS or a server-side language or writing a page using XML then one foot wrong and the page fails to display. I've yet to see people arguing about how unfair that is.
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  17. #92
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Karl's Avatar
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    I voted XHTML 1.0 strict. At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter if IE doesn't truly parse it as XML as long as it renders, and properly done it will render just fine still and when served with XML content type, will work fine in browsers that support XHTML fully.

    I just tried our current website in IE5 (Windows 98) and it loads exactly the same as it does in IE5.5, IE6, IE7, FF, Opera etc. without any special tweaking done for it. It doesn't complain that the syntax is XHTML based rather than HTML based - so I fail to understand the "hollier-than-thou" attitude some people take when it comes to XHTML just because it's not always served with XML content type. I'm will to be converted though.
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  18. #93
    Posts rarely lloydi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Schulz View Post
    Off Topic:

    I think you need to post more.
    Sorry 'bout that. I go through phases on this, but I never really 'haunt' any given forum. Too many other things to do, day and night
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  19. #94
    I am obstructing justice. bronze trophy fatnewt's Avatar
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    The only problem with XHTML is that the potential would be higher if it were always served as XML.

    Some people stick with HTML 4, some want to serve XHTML as if it were HTML 4. Whichever you choose is somewhat irrelevant. All that matters is that the code is maintainable and follows the standard it claims to follow.

    There's no shame in using HTML. There's no shame in using XHTML. Just make good Web sites/apps that are usable, accessible and easy to maintain. Standards are a tool to help you get that job done efficiently.
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  20. #95
    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Admo View Post
    www.amazon.com - not validated
    Your argument sucks here's why
    Attached Images Attached Images

  21. #96
    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winged Spider View Post
    Because I don't validate, I don't take my work seriously? What if I make my sites render in all browsers perfectly but not conform to standards? Is being standards compliant more important than making your site function correctly?
    False dichotomy. Valid code that works in all modern browsers is not only possible, it's quite common, and if you work validation into your normal coding/design processes it doesn't add a significant amount of time to your projects. And yes, I consider validation to be a basic quality control move much like unit testing or even getting your code to compile without errors and warnings in the first place. I might not have perfectly valid code every time but I tend to know where my problems are (and usually the invalid code is in there for a good reason).

    And for the record, I bounce between HTML 4.01 Strict and XHTML 1.0 Transitional depending on a variety of factors.

  22. #97
    SitePoint Author silver trophybronze trophy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Karl View Post
    I just tried our current website in IE5 (Windows 98) and it loads exactly the same as it does in IE5.5, IE6, IE7, FF, Opera etc. without any special tweaking done for it.
    Because you're not really using XHTML at all. You're using HTML with a few errors in it, and all browsers can handle that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Karl View Post
    It doesn't complain that the syntax is XHTML based rather than HTML based - so I fail to understand the "hollier-than-thou" attitude some people take when it comes to XHTML just because it's not always served with XML content type.
    XHTML-style markup is for the most part not invalid HTML (except for self-closing tags in the HEAD). It just doesn't mean what you might think it means. Fortunately for all XHTML wannabes, virtually all browsers use parsers that aren't fully SGML-compliant – or even HTML-compliant – so the problems go by undetected.

    A <br/> tag in pretend-XHTML is not the same as a <br> tag in HTML. It's equivalent to <br>&gt;, but browsers don't render the extra '>' character due to a common bug.

    The browser would 'complain' if you tried to use real XHTML syntax. For instance, try something like this and see how IE likes it:
    HTML Code:
    <script type="text/javascript" src="foo.js"/>
    Perfectly valid XHTML, they way it should be written in real XHTML (except for the MIME type). But try that when serving as text/html and you'll see that there's more to this XHTML vs HTML thingy than meets the eye.

    Re: the 'holier-than-thou' attitude, I personally think that's more prevalent in the XHTML wannabe camp. Those members seem to believe that they are cooler and hipper and much more modern than the dinosaurs who still use HTML 4.01 Strict. In reality, the wannabes are also using HTML, they just don't know it.
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  23. #98
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    Although it may be obvious, I would just like to point out that HTML is one of the only languages that is still parsed when there are errors.

    Perhaps this is the fault of the browser (Why provide a quirks mode? Why try to parse invalid code? Why not simply return the error and force someone to fix it?) but in any other language if you provide invalid code, the execution stops and an error is returned.

    That is the only positive reason I would suggest that people move to real XHTML - your code has to be valid.

  24. #99
    The Mind's I ® silver trophy Dark Tranquility's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NickPresta View Post
    Although it may be obvious, I would just like to point out that HTML is one of the only languages that is still parsed when there are errors.

    Perhaps this is the fault of the browser (Why provide a quirks mode? Why try to parse invalid code? Why not simply return the error and force someone to fix it?) but in any other language if you provide invalid code, the execution stops and an error is returned.

    That is the only positive reason I would suggest that people move to real XHTML - your code has to be valid.
    ...but it is obvious that moving to real XHTML doesn't seem to be possible today!

  25. #100
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    I know that is the case (it wasn't the point of my post). As I'd said before in this topic, I still use and recommend HTML 4.01 Strict.


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