[whatwg] HTML 5 vs. XHTML 2.0

Matthew Raymond mattraymond at earthlink.net
Mon Nov 15 17:26:49 PST 2004

Laurens Holst wrote:
> My vote is to create a spec which combines XHTML 2.0 with XHTML 1.1 
> (/XHTML 1.0 Strict), deprecating the XHTML 1.0 tags in stead of removing 
> them altogether, and making an 'HTML' version of it.
> Additionally, it could introduce new tags which seem useful, have a 
> proper use case (I create documentation for my company so I could 
> probably say whether such a tag would at least be meaningful for our 
> technical documentation), and are well-discussed (e.g. the question 
> arises whether <file> isn't just another kind of <name>, and whether 
> they couldn't just all fall under a better-defined <cite>).
> This way, we would be compatible with XHTML 1.0 and 2.0, and we can hope 
> for a possible XHTML 3.0 to adopt our additions :). Co-operation with 
> the XHTML WG and creating some goodwill (adopting XHTML 2.0 alone, 
> causing good browser support, will I think already do that) would 
> probably help a lot with that.

    In theory, this is fine. In practice, the HTML Working Group has 
done stuff like this...


    ...And this...


    ...And crap like deliberately changing the name of the |href| 
attribute for <link> to "resource":


    (This is probably to accommodate their new general |href| attribute. 
They've gotten rid of every element that uses the old |href| except for 

    The HTML Working Group isn't just creating an extension of XHTML 1.1 
with some elements removed. They're redefining the markup completely. 
XHTML 2.0 is a completely new markup language. Calling it "XHTML 2.0" is 
probably deceptive in the first place. (Although, it does have MANY 
similarities to XHTML 1.x.)

> If we do not do this, Web Forms and Web Apps should keep their hands off 
> stuff like quote and headings, and just stick to what they were supposed 
> to do. Because personally I do not care, not at all (as in: wouln't like 
> / prefer not to have), for a specification which introduces new tags 
> incompatible with and going in a different direction from XHTML 2.0.

    Whatever we introduce can become incompatible with XHTML 2.0 the 
very next day. XHTML 2.0 is a working draft, not a candidate 
recommendation and not a last call. I would rather try to find the best, 
most backwards compatible way of doing something in markup than try play 
follow-the-leader with a single, self-important W3C working group.

    The bottom line for me is that if the HTML Working Group comes up 
with something useful, let's run with it, but otherwise let's not waste 
our time trying to kiss their collective a$$es. If they respected our 
position in the first place, they'd have made XHTML 2.0 backwards 
compatible from the start.

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