[whatwg] The problems with namespaces in text/html

Elliotte Harold elharo at metalab.unc.edu
Sun Nov 5 04:02:27 PST 2006

William F Hammond wrote:

> This thread is specifically about documents on the web for
> _presentation_ by _browser-class_ user agents.

There is no such thing, and the sooner we realize that the better. There 
are documents on the Web, which may be processed by many different 
classes and types of agents for many different needs. These include 
classic desktop browsers, cell phone browsers, text node browsers, web 
spiders, search engines, intelligent agents, and much more.

The document format published on the Web should not prevent any of these 
uses. That means it certainly must be well-renderable in a desktop 
browser. However, we must not assume that is the only thing that will be 
done with it.

One of the major original goals of XML *and* HTML *and* SGML was to 
separate content from presentation. I am frankly shocked to see this 
basic principle being so off-handedly thrown out the window. That's why 
I'm having such a hard time believing what I'm hearing. Do people really 
want to reverse the course the Web has been on for almost 20 years? 
Especially now when diversity is increasing? In 1995 there really was 
only one browser of great significance, and almost all Web browsing was 
done in a desktop GUI. That's no longer true, and it's going to become 
less true as time passes.

> Have you seen this comment from TimBL?
>          http://dig.csail.mit.edu/breadcrumbs/node/166

Most certainly. My response is here:


> Have you been involved in generating XHTML+MathML content that is
> presently on the web?  If so, I'd like to know where so I can have
> a look.

Not heavily, but I've played with it. See, for example,


Firefox seems to handle it. Safari can't.

Elliotte Rusty Harold  elharo at metalab.unc.edu
Java I/O 2nd Edition Just Published!

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