Web developers tried to take the step forward from HTML4 with XHTML. It didn't work, older browsers didn't support the correct MIME type for it. That didn't stop developers from using it though, sending it as text/html.
The step forward was regarded as needed. HTML5 took over. It keeps the XHTML option open, it takes HTML a step forward, it provides backward compatibility with HTML4.
Like XHTML, older browsers don't have full support for HTML5. Should this prevent me from using it, if I find it's good for me? NO!
Now, everybody clings on HTML4 being the norm. Let's take a look in the past. HTML4 faced the same heat upon adoption, both from developers and from browsers.
>> To default to 4.01 has never been the consensus. A great many
>> simply do not need anything beyond 3.2 and, therefore, the safest
>> is still 3.2. Basically, the change of the default from 2.0 to 3.2
>> represents a minor incremental change vs. a radical shift. The basic
>> is that version 4 browsers are still in use.
> Defaulting to 3.2 has neither been consensus. If you worry about
> compatibility, please name a browser that supports HTML 3.2 documents
> but rejects HTML 4.01 documents. I claim there is no such browser.
[B]Sorry to butt in here, but there are browsers "in the wild" which offer
HTML3.2 support but only offer a small subset of the HTML4.01 additions.
These browsers, whilst not in the majority, most assuredly still exist
and are still in use daily.[/B]
"Refusing to display" is not the issue. No one (but you) said it
was. Correct display of the document is the issue. I.e. what I did say
is that Netscape 4.7 is still is use[...]
And what is with all the HTML3.2 code?
Heh, I haven't had the time yet to learn 4.0 ...
Forget HTML3.2, learn HTML4.01 (at a minimum) with CSS. It will make
your life a lot simpler.
Learning HTML 3.2 by Examples
But why HTML 3.2?
The HTML language exists in several variants and continues to evolve, but the HTML 3.2 constructs will most probably be usable in the future, too. By learning HTML 3.2 and by sticking to it as far as possible, you can produce documents which can be browsed by a large variety of Web software now and in the future. Later you may learn to add some useful constructs defined in HTML 4.0 (or future HTML standards as they are defined). This does not exclude the possibility of using other features, such as enhancements provided by Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer or some other product, if it really serves your purposes and you are willing to accept the consequences (e.g. limitations on accessibility). But it is wise to adopt the habit of producing documents in a standardized language and using extensions only when really necessary.
The next version of HTML, an extension to HTML 3.2, is known as HTML 4.0 (or the code name Cougar). It was approved as a W3C recommendation in December 18th, 1997, but it takes time before there will be new browser versions which support it and before users widely upgrade to such versions. In particular, Netscape 4.0 and Internet Explorer 4.0 do not support HTML 4.0 in general; see especially Stephanos Piperoglou's HTML 4.0 in Netscape and Explorer (to which I have some minor annotations). Thus, for quite a long time, netwise long, it will be safest to use HTML 3.2, adding useful HTML 4.0 features when needed. If possible, when using HTML 4.0 try to do things so that they "degrade gracefully" on browsers which only support HTML 3.2.
It's clear from the last quote that while some encouraged others to embrace a new standard they also contradicted them self by trying to suggest to stop there and forget advancement.
IE6 doesn't support HTML4 properly and it especially doesn't support CSS 2.1 properly. Being fair, those that raise their voices against HTML5 because of IE6 should also raise their voice against HTML4 and CSS2.1.
Remember ie7-html4.js !!! Please, if you must be so righteous about obsolete browsers, please do advocate against HTML4 too.
Posted by timothy on Saturday February 17 2001, @07:50PM
from the progress-or-tyranny? dept.
These are the users I should worry about? That's a laugh.