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The Internet

Apple, Opera, and Mozilla Push For HTML5 384

Posted by kdawson
from the overdue-updates dept.
foo fighter writes "The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has been slumbering the past several years: HTML was last updated in 1999, XHTML was last updated in 2002, and no one is taking seriously their largely incompatible work on 'next-generation' XHTML or 'modularized' XHTML. Both HTML and XHTML are in sorry need of removing deprecated items while being updated to reflect the current practices of web and browser developers and remaining compatible with legacy Recommendations. The much more open and transparent WHATWG (Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group), formed in 2004 to address this problem, and has been hard at work on developing a draft spec for HTML5 to update and replace legacy versions of both HTML and XHTML. The quality of this work has reached the point that Apple, Opera, and Mozilla have requested the adoption of HTML5 as the new 'W3C Recommendation' for Web development."
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Apple, Opera, and Mozilla Push For HTML5

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  • Opera (Score:3, Informative)

    by RonnyJ (651856) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @11:43AM (#18703997)
    Speaking of Opera, version 9.2 was released yesterday, but doesn't seem to have warranted a headline here as of yet.

    http://www.opera.com/download/ [opera.com]

  • Talk about spin! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bogtha (906264) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @11:45AM (#18704035)

    "The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has been slumbering the past several years

    No, the W3C have been very busy [w3.org].

    XHTML was last updated in 2002

    No, XHTML was last updated two months ago [w3.org].

    no one is taking seriously their largely incompatible work on 'next-generation' XHTML or 'modularized' XHTML.

    Everybody is ignoring XHTML 2.0 because it isn't finished yet. XHTML 1.1 is not an option for most developers for one reason in particular: you can't use it with Internet Explorer. Blame Microsoft.

    Both HTML and XHTML are in sorry need of removing deprecated items

    No, both HTML 4.01 Strict and XHTML 1.0 Strict are available for those people who wish to use a document type that doesn't include the deprecated stuff. And even if they weren't available, nobody needs deprecated items to be removed. If you don't want them, don't use them. Just because they appear in a specification it doesn't mean you are forced to use them.

    The quality of this work has reached the point that Apple, Opera, and Mozilla have requested the adoption of HTML5 as the new 'W3C Recommendation' for Web development.

    No, they are requesting that the W3C — the organisation you've just written off as closed and useless — adopt their work as a starting point, so that it can be developed further at the W3C. They aren't asking that the W3C give it Recommendation status, they are asking the W3C to take over its development.

  • Misses the point (Score:5, Informative)

    by starwed (735423) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @11:47AM (#18704059)
    The article misses a pretty large point: the w3 has already decided [betanews.com] to work on the next version of HTML. The post linked to is a recommendation that the HTML 5 spec be used as a starting point for that work.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 12, 2007 @11:47AM (#18704071)
    Chris Wilson of Microsoft's IE team is one of the co-chairs of the HTML WG. The work of the WHATWG however has been created without any input from MS. It remains to be seen whether or not MS will adopt everything. There are also internal quarrels among the other three, read the public-html list archives to find out.
  • by Bogtha (906264) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @12:07PM (#18704451)

    I agree that it's silly that they are required attributes, but merely missing the attributes off doesn't dump you into quirks mode. Quirks mode is determined by the doctype you use.

  • Re:Firefox plugin (Score:2, Informative)

    by mabhatter654 (561290) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @12:08PM (#18704465)
    you mean like IETab that lets firefox open individual pages with IE if you need to!!!
  • by Kelson (129150) * on Thursday April 12, 2007 @12:09PM (#18704473) Homepage Journal

    How about a way of having content reflow from one column to another when a window is resized? Page layout programs have done this for 20+ years, so shouldn't it be possible for a web page and a browser today?

    The CSS3 multi-column module [css3.info] was designed for exactly that purpose. It's available in experimental form in current Mozilla-based browsers (Firefox, Seamonkey, Camino, etc.), and according to that page, it's available in nightly builds of Webkit, which will eventually become a future version of Safari. (Since the spec isn't final, the rules use -moz and -webkit prefixes, so that if the spec changes they won't have to change the official rule's behavior.) No word from Opera, though there are reportedly a bunch of CSS3 features in store for the next major update, and of course, who knows how long before we'll see it in IE.

    Remember: HTML for structure, CSS for layout.

  • by apathy maybe (922212) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @12:10PM (#18704493) Homepage Journal
    If you have data that uses a table, use the "table" tag. If you don't, use CSS. HTML is not for describing presentation, that is what CSS is for. As such, your idea for a "grid" tag, is not really for HTML at all.

    What happens when your page gets displayed on a phone? With CSS you can simply revert to a single column (or the phone can just drop the CSS), with "grid", you need two pages, one for desktops, and one for phones.

    I think XHTML is fine, it works and does the job. The only thing I would like is a client side include. Apart from that, I think CSS needs updating, not (X)HTML (or perhaps just browser support for CSS?).
  • by brunascle (994197) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @12:16PM (#18704579)
    personally, i'd like to get rid of HTML completely and replace it with XHTML. i absolutely hate that some tags dont have to be closed in HTML. without some sort of outside knowledge of the HTML standard (e.g. by downloading the DTD), a parser cannot be expected to properly organize an HTML document.

    here's an example:

    <div>
    <br>hi
    <br>how are you?
    </div>

    <ul>
    <li>hi
    <li>how are you?
    </ul>
    without knowledge about HTML, a parser cannot be expected to understand in the first case that the <br> element is empty and in the second that the <li> element is not.
  • by J0nne (924579) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @12:22PM (#18704701)
    you mean the following doesn't work?

    textarea {
    width:200px;
    height: 100px;
    }
    I guess I've been doing css all wrong for years now :(...
  • by blincoln (592401) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @12:25PM (#18704751) Homepage Journal
    Funny, that's how I feel about people who don't use CSS. Seriously, if you are that concerned with the size of pages and bandwidth, like you say in your other comment, then why are you transmitting your style information on every single page load?

    Agreed.

    To the GP: I recently redesigned my main website [thelostworlds.net] after running it for five years with a design very much like the one you describe - all coded by hand, HTML 3.2, no CSS (although I had some equally old Javascript for highlighting the navigation buttons).

    The new version uses CSS, and since I designed it using the "strict" mode of newfangled HTML, it renders more or less identically on different browsers. I also built a batch build content management system, so that I don't have to manually edit a bunch of HTML when I change the design or whatever. I made sure the output is basically what I would have done if I did it all by hand though.

    I was very skeptical about it before I started, but it really is a much better way to build websites. It saves time, it makes redesigns and multi-platform stuff easier (like theoretically I could swap out CSS files to make a version formatted for PDAs if I were running a website that would be at all useful on them), and it's *much* easier to get relatively consistent rendering across platforms. The only visible difference I'm aware of between Firefox and IE6/7 is related to tables without a fixed width. Neither one looks superior, they're just different.
  • Re:Talk about spin! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Bogtha (906264) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @12:26PM (#18704779)

    I thought it was because it was a pointless and unneeded reformulation of existing standards with no BC?

    You're welcome to that opinion, but I think the fact that it's a work-in-progress is the relevant factor to consider when wondering why people aren't using it. Even the W3C themselves don't want anybody to use it yet. In their own words, from the top of the latest specification [w3.org]: "It should in no way be considered stable, and should not be normatively referenced for any purposes whatsoever."

    Lynx will never support application/xhtml+xml

    Lynx already supports application/xhtml+xml. According to the changelog [isc.org], support was added almost three years ago.

  • by starwed (735423) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @12:28PM (#18704825)
    I'm sure it will ease your mind to know that the chair of the working group works for MS... :P
  • by MankyD (567984) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @12:34PM (#18704923) Homepage
    It works, but it's not standards-compliant - it's not required to work.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 12, 2007 @01:22PM (#18705737)
    "Effectively when we write the HTML code by hand we're creating very lightweight pages. I set some colours and a simple background based upon a small sample and I'm good."

    So your pages are designed for @media = screen and projection only? What about tty, handheld, print and tv media types that view your page? Here CSS comes in real handy.
  • by porneL (674499) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @01:25PM (#18705785) Homepage

    IE6/7 have all those weird box model problems with XHTML 1.0

    No, IE can handle box model perfectly. It's XHTML it can't handle at all. You must be sending your pages as HTML (text/html) and you've put XML prolog in your HTML, which triggers quirks mode (you may think it's XHTML, but browsers see it as HTML with lots of syntax errors and bogus DOCTYPE).

    obligatory hixie reference [hixie.ch]

  • by cultrhetor (961872) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @01:29PM (#18705861) Journal
    Actually, you can just add a stylesheet that makes sure it renders correctly on PDAs. No need for switching:

    <link rel="stylesheet" href="styles/standard.css" type="text/css" media="screen, projection" />
    <link rel="stylesheet" href="styles/pda.css" type="text/css" media="handheld" />
  • by Bogtha (906264) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @01:42PM (#18706061)

    To be honest I didn't read the spec (yet) but it appears the page is following HTML 4.01 strict but the doctype is incorrectly specified.

    Well read the spec then. That's the HTML 5 doctype [whatwg.org]. The only reason they use a doctype at all is because otherwise it would trigger quirks mode.

  • by Excors (807434) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @02:27PM (#18706859)

    A fundamental design principle of HTML5 is that HTML5 pages should work in existing browsers like IE6. You can write <input type="email">, and an HTML5 browser will allow useful auto-filling and immediate validation feedback, while old browsers will simply show a text box. New elements like <video> can have fallback content, e.g. to embed a Flash video player. New elements like <canvas> can be partially implemented by JavaScript in IE6. The HTML5 doctype (<!DOCTYPE HTML>) is chosen so that it triggers standards mode (as opposed to quirks mode) in all existing browsers.

    So, you can write in HTML5 to provide added benefits for users of browsers that understand HTML5, while still being no worse than before for users of older browsers. And given that IE development has started up again, with IE7 making some progress on CSS standards compliance, and given that Microsoft is a member of the W3C's HTML working group which will almost certainly accept the current HTML5 work (as it was the reason for the working group to be formed, and nobody has raised any serious objections since it was proposed), I believe there is reason to be hopeful.

  • Re:Talk about spin! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Excors (807434) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @02:49PM (#18707209)

    I think the fact that it's a work-in-progress is the relevant factor to consider when wondering why people aren't using it.

    That's not a relevant factor for the Safari developers to say [webkit.org] "the HTML standards process has been moribund; the W3C's HTML Working Group has focused almost exclusively on XHTML2, a new standard that was highly incompatible with existing practice" and "We declined to participate in the XHTML2 Working Group because we think XHTML2 is not an appropriate technology for the web". As far as I am aware, Mozilla, Opera and Microsoft are all not planning to ever implement XHTML2, whereas they are already working on HTML5 – HTML5 also has many features that are work-in-progress and which nobody is using yet, but which the browser vendors are already implementing, because they are valuable changes and don't break compatibility with the current hundred billion documents on the web.

  • by ScentCone (795499) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @03:03PM (#18707463)
    First, you're talking gross. What's his margin on those $1600 worth of orders?

    He makes about 35% markup on orders like that. As of a more recent check (some hours since I chimed in on the thread), the ancient-browser-checkouts have now grossed about $2200. We'll call that, conservatively, about $500 of profit (not counting taxes, flushing the toilets, pizza for the warehouse guys, etc).

    the site must look unappealingly 1997

    No, I'd say it looks more early-2005. The design is deliberately lean, spartan, and surprisingly navigable considering they have around 12,000 items. The are leveraging Froogle, affiliate marketing with feeds and hot links into products... lots of the more recent goodies. There are some nested tables in play, still... but they come back with first-page Google hits on a great deal of what they talk about and sell.

    Responsiveness is huge

    Yes, it is. But any latency I've had to fight was almost always due to database performance problems, usually because some session management table or other beastie had outgrown the way the indexes were built, etc. Believe me... a complete redesign for new standards is desireable, and could indeed bring in some otherwise missed sales. But it's nice to not run off the little old ladies and their credit cards, too. 10 of them today, it looks like. That's about 300 of them per month, and they do a lot of repeat business... the business has about a 45% repeat customer rate. Which might not sound great until you realize they're growing rapidly. So, don't "meh" something that's working pretty solidly, and which is very much a topic of discussion and planning at the business. My point (back to the thread, here) is that the "web designer" to said "when was the last time you even say a machine running IE5" is full of crap. I'm not just seeing them, I'm seeing them show up and spend money.
  • by caudron (466327) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @05:30PM (#18710211) Homepage

    There's no such thing as a "box model" in XHTML 1.0. The box model is a feature of CSS.

    I agree with everything else you said, but have to defer to the other guy on this one.

    CSS allows you to play with the box properties (like borders and padding and margins), but the box model is the direct result of the div structure of XHTML 1.*. I know why you say otherwise. Conventionally, when we talk about the box model, we are talking about CSS's use of it, but technically, convention is wrong, in that the box is defined in the XHTML rather than the CSS.

    God. I am such a 'tard that I couldn't let this minor point go uncorrected. lol! Forgive my pedantry. ;-)

    Tom Caudron
    http://tom.digitalelite.com/ [digitalelite.com]
  • by FooBarWidget (556006) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @06:03PM (#18710631)
    The only reason why I don't actively use XHTML (and instead use HTML 4 strict) is because Internet Explorer doesn't correctly support it. It renders XHTML as HTML 4 *transitional*, which activates IE's broken 'compatibility' box model. And IE doesn't support the XHTML MIME type.

    The past new years I've noticed that the browser world has become IE versus "the rest". Firefox, Opera and Konqueror seem to render everything nearly identically. 95% of the rendering problems during website development seem to come from IE, and IE only.
  • by angryrobot (223166) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @06:32PM (#18710999)
    Here's one method:
    http://alistapart.com/articles/holygrail [alistapart.com]

    Here's another:
    http://www.glish.com/css/7.asp [glish.com]

    But yeah, it's hard. Lot's of people have found solutions to the problems, though. Even if it is cumbersome, I think it's better than visual markup.
  • by MP3Chuck (652277) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @06:49PM (#18711329) Homepage Journal
    If the user wants it to be up to themselves, they can disable external stylesheets and define their own. The whole point of semantic [X]HTML, with presentation broken out into CSS, is that the user can do that, if they so choose, and still have a functional document in front of them. The other 99.999% of Web users would likely perfer if they didn't have to do that.
  • by Bogtha (906264) on Friday April 13, 2007 @10:10AM (#18718711)

    I'd be happy if we just had a way to layout the page such that it would size with the browser window.

    Er, we do, and it's actually the default. Load a page without any styling information at all and see for yourself. If you want to specify a width, use { width: 75%; } or whatever relative width you like instead of using px, pt or whatever you are using now.

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