[whatwg] HTML 5 vs. XHTML 2.0

Dean Edwards dean at edwards.name
Sun Nov 14 17:09:34 PST 2004

hi all,

the increased discussion about XHTML2 vs HTML5 has prompted this email.

some things to consider:

* HTML5 *extends* HTML4
* HTML5 should be backwardly compatible with HTML4

* XHTML2 *improves* XHTML1
* XHTML2 is not backwardly compatible with XHTML1

* HTML4 tags are pretty similar to XHTML1 tags :-)

a lot of the current discussion arises from the fact that we have 
labeled our specifications under the umbrella "HTML5". i agree with this 
but it does lead us to compare/contrast with XHTML2. i think this is a 
major issue and prompts many questions. how far do we mirror the XHTML2 
improvements? if we adopt some but not others will this lead to further 
confusion about web standards? it seems that versions of HTML have 
already lurched in different directions.

however, extending HTML (especially the Forms module) is absolutely 
necessary. how necessary are the other discussed changes (<q> vs 
<quote>)? if we choose <quote> then what about the rest of the XHTML2 
spec? i think we have to think hard about this before we add to the 
confusion that web developers have to face.  we have the opportunity to 
clear up some of the existing confusion, with some careful pruning of 
the original spec (goodbye <acronym>) but how far we go is a question 
that should be debated thoroughly.

finally, if we do decide to /improve/ HTML does this require another 
spec? i like the idea of the <name> and <file> elements but which of the 
current specs do they belong? we need a new document to cover these 
additions and many of (the discussed) deprecations (if we decide to go 
in that direction).

sorry to be a wet blanket but i had to get these questions off my chest. ;-)


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