[whatwg] Re: DOCTYPE shouldn't be optional

Malcolm Rowe malcolm-what at farside.org.uk
Mon Jul 5 10:11:28 PDT 2004

C Williams writes:
> [...] I was referring to Web Forms 2.0 over-ruling
> of the W3C's assertion that XHTML documents MUST have a doctype.

Hmm, yes. I was wondering about this as well. As far as I know, all 
post-HTML2 HTML documents and all XHTML documents require a DOCTYPE. 

The spec currently reads: "Documents that use the new features described in 
this specification using XHTML or other XML languages over HTTP must be 
served using an XML MIME type such as application/xml or 
application/xhtml+xml and must not be served as text/html. [RFC3023] 
Documents served in this way may contain a DOCTYPE if desired, but this is 
not required." 

There doesn't seem to be any rationale about why this change was made, and 
the way it's worded almost suggests to me that it might be a remnant of an 
older paragraph. 

"Documents served in this way" doesn't seem to make a lot of sense, given 
the preceding sentence is talking about the valid MIME types that can be 
used to serve XHTML; if it means the documents in the previous sentence, it 
should just be "These documents", and if it means documents served as 
text/html, it should say so (though that makes even less sense). 

I'm also confused about "other XML languages over HTTP" - this specification 
extends HTML and XHTML, so what other (non-XHTML) XML languages can this 
spec apply to? 

[I was also going to ask "and what's the relevance of HTTP?", but I've just 
realised that it's '(XHTML or XML) over HTTP', not 'XHTML or (XML over 


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