[whatwg] The problems with namespaces in text/html

Elliotte Harold elharo at metalab.unc.edu
Mon Nov 6 05:51:36 PST 2006

James Graham wrote:

> However, let's assume that we have a tool that can guarantee well-formed 
> markup. As you note the pieces for building such tools do exist 
> (although, as you fail to note, they are typically both slower and 
> harder to use than the pieces for building sites based on simple string 
> interpolation). One example is turbogears [1], which comes with the Kid 
>  template system by default [2]. Under the covers the Kid template is 
> turned into an XML ElementTree [3] and page rendering involves mutation 
> of that tree. Given that, Turbogears will produce sites are good to be 
> sent over the wire as application xhtml+xml to supporting browsers (of 
> course it is almost certainly possible to break this property if you try 
> hard enough). Despite this, _none_ of the sites listed on the turbogears 
> front page are sent as anything other than text/html. Apparently authors 
> desire the browser support and error-handling of HTML over the simpler 
> parsing of XHTML even in situations where they have a real choice.

Publishers don't use application/xhtml+xml because it causes big 
problems for IE6. (Again, possibly another non-issue by the time this 
spec is actually done.) I actually do publish a few pages as 
application/xhtml+xml, and I get complaints about that.

However, if you're sending well-formed XHTML out as text/html, then it 
can be handled  quite nicely today by existing browsers. Furthermore, 
you get all the benefits of easy parseability with XML tools. This is a 
really useful, practical combination. I use this on a *lot* of pages, as 
do most other people I know publishing well-formed or valid XHTML.

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

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