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  1. #1
    SitePoint Wizard Ian Glass's Avatar
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    XHTML 2.0--Just Another Standard?

    (WebRef) XHTML 1.1 was a minor update to the initial formulation of HTML in XML. A strict and a more lenient DTD were defined to balance between the goal of dividing content from presentation, and the desire for being as backward-compatible as possible to HTML 4. A third DTD for framesets was also defined.

    With the second version of XHTML, further changes away from HTML and towards XML are proposed:
    • New elements are proposed for declaring text sections and headings, <section> and <h> respectively [<h1-6> are not depreciated]...
    • The line break tag <br/> has been deprecated in favor of a <line> element that should enclose a part of a paragraph to be rendered on its own line...
    • [The] Common Attribute Collection includes the attributes of the "Hypertext Attribute Collection," most elements can now make use of link attributes, such as href=...
    • The <object> tag becomes the universal identifier for non-HTML content, <img/> and <applet> are deprecated in XHTML 2.0...
    • A new type of list is introduced besides the ordered, unordered and definition lists: The navigation list [<nl>]...
    I have to confess that I've not read the actual XHTML 2.0 proposal, yet. I'll probably reconsider what I say here when I actually do read it, but so far, I'm not fully convinced.

    I think of XHTML as a multipurpose, if generic, language for documents. That's to say, you can use it with articles, technical reports, blogs, school assignments, etc. To that end, 1.1 seems well suited (there's probably a better solution for forums, directory indexes and the like, though). However, 2.0, while it brings some useful additions, seems like a standard for standards' sake.

    Personally, I've always found <br/> (and <hr/> for that matter) clunky and just odd in a structural markup language--it just doesn't seem to bring much in the way of structure to the document. Some entity like &br; may be more appropriate to designate a line break, than either <br/> or <line>; <hr/> probably should be an <object>. I also have to question the validity of navigation lists when you can apply herf='s to normal list items (which I think is also redundant since you can do this with XLink as well).

    I do, however, favor the phasing out of <img/> and <applet> (I think the latter is already depreciated in HTML 4, so deprecating it again seems a little unnecessary) for the <object>. Using <object>, for example, you could have a fancy-dancy graph for visual display (we'd do as an <img/>, today) and have a data <table> nested for our non-visual friends. I could also see using the <object> tag in place of <script> and <style> tags and even in place of some <links/> like Meta, Icon, etc. Nevertheless, that bit alone doesn’t warrant a brand-spanking-new W3C recommendation, to me--perhaps a W3C Note on best practices with XHTML, but not in a new standard that might weaken a major pro-standards argument (complete backwards compatibility).

    Anyway, since it's still a Working Draft, it might change a lot before it becomes an official Recommendation. This is also the time to comment so that we get the standard we really want, hence this diatribe. ;-)

    Thoughts?

    ~~Ian

  2. #2
    morphine for a wooden leg randem's Avatar
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    I believe the reason for introducing standardized elements for standardized features (such as NL) is for the purpose of getting people to standardize their development.

    Consider this:
    Under the present DTD, we see a different method every day for how people define their navigation. One person makes a <DIV class="nav"> and fills it with <A href=""> tags for links, while another person just makes a list of <A href="" class="navlink"> links to their pages. And so on... each person with their own class declaration or id-based selectors, or whatever.

    Of course this method is fine, and we see what we're supposed to, so why question it, right? Well, what if you wanted to have a search engine assign different relevance to navigation links than it does to general content links? Or what if you wanted to spider only the site's links and not it's external links? Or what if you wanted to custom-render someone else's web site entirely? Naturally, it's much easier if everyone is using the same tag to denote a "navigation list".

    And, when it comes to writing out the code, we should consider the efficiency too. Would you rather type
    Code:
    <a class="navlink" href="...">link</a><br>
    <a class="navlink" href="...">link 2</a><br>
    
     or
    
    <nl>
     <a href="...">link</a>
     <a href="...">link</a>
    </nl>
    ? and would you rather have
    Code:
    DIV.nav A { ... }
    
     or
    
    NL { ... }
    Personally, I prefer anything that reduces a)the size of my files, and b)the number of keys I have to press.
    ----Adopt-a-Sig----
    Your message here!

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard Ian Glass's Avatar
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    Well, if we started using <object> instead of <link> for things like stylesheets and icons, that could essentially be the case. For instance:
    Code:
    <link rel="index" href="/" title="SitePointForums Home"/>
    <link rel="section" href="/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=1" title="Web Page Design"/>
    <link rel="subsection" href="/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=86" title="Design Issues"/>
    <ling rel="subsection" href="/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=15" title="Using DHTML &amp; Javascript"/>
    <link rel="next" href="/showthread.php?s=&threadid=72978&goto=nextnewest" title="Next Thread"/>
    <link rel="prev" href="/showthread.php?s=&threadid=72978&goto=nextoldest" title="Previous Thread"/>
    <link rel="copyright" href="/copyright.php" title="Copyright 2002"/>
    <link rel="help" href="/guidelines.php" title="Community Guidelines"/>
    <link rel="bookmark" href="http://sitepoint.com" title="SitePoint.com"/>
    
    <object type="image/icon" data="/favicon.ico"/>
    <object type="text/css" data="/style.css"/>
    <object type="application/javascript" data="/script.js"/>
    That gives you a lot more information about the structure of the site, uses less coding since the developer doesn't need to format it and instead the browser does like the (hypothetical) attachment, and we don't have to invent a new standard to do it. :-)

    Also, the new <nl> is just like <ol> and <ul> lists; it's just a href= on an <li> which you can do in the other lists according to this standard, or you can do it now with namespaces and XLink. It just seems like the type of bloat that we've fought to rid ourselves of.

    ~~Ian
    Attached Images Attached Images

  4. #4
    Non-Member Siltrince's Avatar
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    XHTML 2 looks great to me , to bad we will have to wait a couple of years for the browser to support it.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard iTec's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Siltrince
    XHTML 2 looks great to me , to bad we will have to wait a couple of years for the browser to support it.
    and then wait annother few years for people to finnally ditch NS4.7

  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard iTec's Avatar
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    A page written in XHTML 2.0 that works in Opera6, IE6 and mozilla!

  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard
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    I like these changes. The web is moving towards separation of content and presentation, and this can only be a good thing.

    I bet we can expect to see Mozilla support it shortly after XHTML 2.0 is released, and that is when I will start coding for it. No reason to wait for MSIE users!

  8. #8
    ********* Genius zweistein's Avatar
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    I think I like it... I didn't study the draft yet, but I will soon, but so far... I love it! It even sounds too good to be true...
    zweistein.web - tips&tricks for webmasters, music, programming, computers, Python, etc. new!!! English version, too!
    email | ICQ: 161202879 | AIM: zweistein2169

  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard Ian Glass's Avatar
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    Am I the only who sees it just as feature bloat? Of the new features, half already have existing standards that do the same thing (like the link collection), and the other half is just reinventing the wheel (<q> to <quote>; <br/> to <line>).

    Maybe it's just me. :-p

    ~~Ian

  10. #10
    Your Lord and Master, Foamy gold trophy Hierophant's Avatar
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    It isn't feature bloat and it isn't reinventing the wheel... It is simply making the wheel handle more devices.
    Wayne Luke
    ------------


  11. #11
    Prolific Blogger silver trophy Technosailor's Avatar
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    I like it but I have one question....Ian! What is it you are using in that picture? It looks like Mozilla but what is that menu?!?

    Aaron
    Aaron Brazell
    Technosailor



  12. #12
    SitePoint Wizard
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    He Photoshopped it in. I was wondering the same thing until I read over his post a few times and saw that he hid the "(hypothetical)" pretty well.

  13. #13
    Prolific Blogger silver trophy Technosailor's Avatar
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    oh heh!

    These graphics guys and their eye trick...sheesh. I wanted whatever he had there.

    Aaron
    Aaron Brazell
    Technosailor



  14. #14
    SitePoint Wizard Ian Glass's Avatar
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    Sketch, it's just one possible interpretation of the current standard.

    In this scenario, the browser's just taken the link information in the <head> and provided a menu. That way, we wouldn't have to place a bulky masthead at the top or all our pages. The browser could even make use of the profile attribute of the head element and render the referenced page in the side bar.

    There're so many possibilities not even thought about regarding the current standards (XHTML 1 Transitional, XHTML 1 Frameset, XHTML 1 Strict, XHTML Basic, XHTML 1.1), there's no reason to add another standard--especially one as redundant and utterly pointless as this one. The difference between <line> and <br/> or <quote> and <q> is like the difference between maringheight and topmargin, to me. The effect described for NLs seem utterly useless as it's already possible with CSS and the current standard. The various collections are pointless since they're already possible with namespaces and other current standards. I personally don't see any benefit to portability, especially since it forgoes all previous browsers for at best sub-marginal advances.

    As ya'll can tell, I really don't see much redeeming qualities in this proposed standard. I'm just not grooving to it. How do you guys see it as so beneficial? I thought there'd be more criticism here than there apparently is, so maybe I'm just not getting something--it happens once and a while. ;-)

    ~~Ian
    Last edited by Ian Glass; Aug 24, 2002 at 16:16.

  15. #15
    Prolific Blogger silver trophy Technosailor's Avatar
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    maybe we're not being hasty to judge and taking a "wait-and-see" approach...

    Aaron
    Aaron Brazell
    Technosailor



  16. #16
    SitePoint Wizard Ian Glass's Avatar
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    Why do you think the W3C released the working draft publicly? "Put anything on the Web--expect me to comment on it," is my motto! :-p

    ~~Ian

  17. #17
    SitePoint Wizard iTec's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Ian Glass
    especially since it forgoes all previous browsers for at best sub-marginal advances.

    As ya'll can tell, I really don't see much redeeming qualities in this proposed standard. I'm just not grooving to it. How do you guys see it as so beneficial?
    My thoughts have pretty much gone along the same line as yours, it was a similar thing with <b> and <strong>. I particulary think that X2 will be adopted alot slower by the mainstream then what X1 has been for the simple reason that it will mean all wysiwyg editors, text based editors and browsers will have to implement it, and 99.9% of designers/developers will see no benefit to moving to it. especially when you factor in that you essentially have to relearn HTML.

  18. #18
    SitePoint Wizard Ian Glass's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Sketch
    Ian! What is it you are using in that picture? It looks like Mozilla but what is that menu?!?
    Actually there's in equivalent to that in Mozi 1.1!

    First go View > Show/Hide > Site Navigation Bar > Show Only as Needed (or Show Always, if you want). Then load up Simon Wilson's blog and like magic a new toolbar will appear with some grayed out options and such--it looks a lot like the bookmark bar, actually.

    That's all using <link>s in the head of a document with the rel attribute corresponding to certain link types. Now, I don't particularly like the implementation (or at least it can be greatly improved), but it's the first I've seen. If other browsers follow Mozilla's lead, there'd be no reason for us to make complicated headers or lengthily menus and submenus since the browser can pick all of that up and render it consistently across pages. Just include the <link> in your <head> and you don't have to worry about formatting a menu or having excessive nested <div>s for floating menus, and since it'd be consistent across all Web sites, you wouldn't have to worry about the usability of your menus since it's all handled by the browser.

    I really hope it catches on. :-)

    ~~Ian

  19. #19
    The Legend Indian's Avatar
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    Site Navigation Bar

    Ian,
    Actually it was already there in old versions of Mozilla. They removed it in Mozilla 1.0.
    http://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=138496
    Death --the last sleep? No, it is the final awakening.

    TinyPlanet.org
    Discuss and Debate World Events, Politics and Religion

  20. #20
    SitePoint Member
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    If nothing else, maybe the draft of XHTML 2 will help those people who thought (hoped) the developmental lethargy toward XHTML would make the W3C rethink things and park the Web at HTML 3.2 finally see the light.

  21. #21
    Robert Wellock silver trophybronze trophy xhtmlcoder's Avatar
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    It's a Working Draft so nothing is finalised, yes I think there are a few strange ideas with the draft, but since I only just got back on the web after two months absense I haven't had time to absorb the full set of modules.

    Basically what seems to have happened is the W3C is back peddling on <object> and reinventing frames; perhaps the latter is because the only other real sensible alternative would be to use ECMAScript from a functional visual perception.

  22. #22
    SitePoint Wizard
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    It's nice and all that they are busy working on Version 2.0 of XHTML, but how many people are using XHTML? It takes time for people to adapt to the new Standards.

    As XHTML matures so should CSS. I see them both tied together, and I know that there are still some serious issues with CSS, whether it is the actual specs. or Opera's, Microsoft's and Netscape/AOL's interpertation of the CSS Standards. I would wait on creating new STandards, and push the use of the current standards.
    "Happiness doesn't find you, you find happiness" -- Unknown
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