[whatwg] Supporting MathML and SVG in text/html, and related topics

Anne van Kesteren annevk at opera.com
Wed Apr 16 10:12:27 PDT 2008

On Wed, 16 Apr 2008 18:36:49 +0200, William F Hammond  
<hammond at csc.albany.edu> wrote:
> About 7 years ago there was argument in these circles about whether
> correct xhtml+mathml could be served as text/html.
> As we all know, a clear boundary was drawn, presumably because it
> was onerous for browsers to "sniff" incoming content and then decide
> how to parse.

Actually, it was not the browsers:


> As things have evolved, we now know that browsers do, in fact, perform
> a lot of triage.  See, for example, "Mozilla's DOCTYPE sniffing",
> http://developer.mozilla.org/en/docs/Mozilla's_DOCTYPE_sniffing

That's a very limited set of differences which mostly affect page layout.

> Especially since we are speaking about dual serialization of the same
> DOM and since there is relatively little use of
> "application/xhtml+xml" (and some significant user agents do not
> support it), might it not be worthwhile to re-examine the question of
> serving standards-compliant xhtml or xhtml+(mathml|svg) serialized
> document instances as either "text/html" or "application/xhtml+xml"?
> In other words, why not be able to serve both serializations
> as "text/html"?
> What obstacles to this exist?

The Web.

Anne van Kesteren

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