[whatwg] Allow trailing slash in always-empty HTML5 elements?

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Sat Dec 2 00:48:15 PST 2006

On Sat, 2 Dec 2006, Mike Schinkel wrote:
> >> You don't need to do one or the other. It's just up to you which you 
> >> do. Neither is better or worse than the other. They are equivalent, 
> >> neither is deprecated, .... There's no reason to try and do both.
> If, as you say one is as good as the other, why in the world have both?

The Web Apps 1.0 spec doesn't have both. It has a single format, HTML5, 
that is compatible with the overwhelming majority of Web content, and is 
compatible with the "tag soup" parsers as supported by all major Web 
browsers (including most mobile browsers).

However, since HTML5 is defined in terms of the DOM, and since XML is one 
way of serialising a DOM, it is guarenteed that _someone_ will try to 
create an XML serialisation of HTML5 DOMs. Therefore, the Web Apps spec 
addresses this, gives it a name (XHTML5), and makes sure to clearly state 
how that should work, so that when someone does it, they don't have to 

We have no choice about having the HTML format -- that's what the Web uses 
today and we have to be compatible with that to be successful. We have no 
cohice about the XML form, XML is used by certain people and there is a 
guarentee that people will try to use HTML5 with XML. Therefore we are 
stuck with having both.

For most people, however, XHTML5 need never enter their world.

> Maybe I'm wrong about this, but I bet most of the word-a-day web 
> developers and vendors of products that would need to support both would 
> agree. Has there been any attempt to learn their options on the 
> direction of HTML5 vs. XHTML?

There really is very little reason for anyone to use XHTML5 today, since 
it doesn't work in IE7, the majority browser, whereas HTML5 does.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

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