[whatwg] HTML syntax: shortcuts for 'id' and 'class' attributes

Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis bhawkeslewis at googlemail.com
Fri Dec 1 01:09:31 PST 2006

On Fri, 2006-12-01 at 00:15 -0800, Andrew Fedoniouk wrote:

> Probably solution could be in creation of "Open HTML/CSS/Script
> specification" that will make conditions for competition of various
> approaches/technologies. Who knows?

I doubt it. HTML persists as a mainstream format because Internet
Explorer cannot handle application/xhtml+xml. I predict that will change
in IE8. There are other old-style SGML-based languages, but I haven't
seen much use of them on the web, which isn't surprising as browsers
aren't really SGML readers. And adding existing XML-based languages to
the text/html world is tricky (see the problems with MathML and HTML5).
There are now a /lot/ of XML-based languages. Many of these have not
made into mainstream browsers yet, like TEI and DocBook. But as browser
support for XML improves, any challenger is likely to be up against
XHTML 2 or Web Applications 1.0, not HTML. HTML is a small world of
legacy serialization; XML is a big world of possibility, if for no other
reason than it's easy to create new XML languages.

In practice, competition between such languages will only work if we
develop ways of dealing with differing levels of browser support. And
that means either describing one language in terms of another, or
serving different serializations of the same content. Anything else
would be an accessibility nightmare.

Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis

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