[whatwg] Configure Apache to send the right MIME type for XHTML

James Graham jg307 at cam.ac.uk
Wed Mar 7 08:31:29 PST 2007

Elliotte Harold wrote:

> Indeed, if one were of a suspicious turn of mind, one might think the 
> insistence on sending XHTML as application/xhtml+xml were nothing but a 
> strategy to make XHTML so practically inconvenient that no one would 
> consider it.

I think I don't understand. The difficulty with XHTML has never been about 
setting the correct MIME type -- this is relatively trivial if you have access 
to any sort of server configuration. The issue has always been with the fact 
that browsers process application/xhtml+xml as XML and, sadly, the error 
handling requirements of XML make it unsuited for the web. Therefore it is 
undesirable for all but a statistically insignificant fraction of authors to 
actually make the configuration change. Hopefully we will be able to come up 
with some solution that combines the supposed benefits of XHTML (principally the 
ability to embed mathematics and vector graphics*) with the workable error 
handling model of HTML.

*We already have the ability to process HTML documents with an "XML" toolchain 
by virtue of the HTML5 parsing/treebuilding algorithm.

"Eternity's a terrible thought. I mean, where's it all going to end?"
  -- Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

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