[whatwg] several messages about HTML5

Vlad Alexander (xhtml.com) vlad.alexander at xhtml.com
Tue Feb 20 13:00:07 PST 2007

4. One of the biggest problems with HTML is that content authors can get away with writing "tag soup". As a result, most content authors don't feel the need to write markup to specification. When markup is not written to specification, CSS may not get applied correctly, JavaScript may not execute and some user-agents may not be able to process content as the author intended. Why not put an end to "tag soup" by requiring user-agents to only accept markup written to specification?

5. X/HTML 5 has a construct for adding additional semantics to existing elements using predefined class names. Predefined class names could be the most controversial part of X/HTML 5, because the implementation overloads the class attribute. XHTML 2 provides similar functionality using the role attribute. Which approach is better and why?

6. The font element is a terrible construct, primarily because content creators using authoring tools use the font element instead of semantic markup. The X/HTML 5 spec supports the font element when content is authored using WYSIWYG editors. What is the rationale for this? Why would WYSIWYG editors get an exemption? And is this exemption going to make the Web less accessible?

7. The XHTML 5 spec says that "generally speaking, authors are discouraged from trying to use XML on the Web". Why write an XML spec like XHTML 5 and then discourage authors from using it? Why not just drop support for XML (XHTML 5)?

8. The chair of the HTML Working Group at W3C, Steven Pemberton, said "HTML is a mess!" and "rather than being designed, HTML just grew, by different people just adding stuff to it". Since HTML is poorly designed, why is it worth preserving? Or is HTML fixable? If so, how does X/HTML 5 fix it?

9. Supporters of X/HTML 5 call XHTML 2 radical. History has shown us that radical technological change is often controversial, but in the end is the best choice. For example, in the last 40 years, the technology for delivering music has change radically, from vinyl, to cassette, to CD, to purely digital. Why should the Web shy away from a radical technological change?

10. In the minds of most people, HTML is dead and X/HTML 5 is perceived as an attempt to resurrect it. Given this perception, how can you succeed in marketing HTML to consumers (those who build Web sites)?

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