ARTLUNG: <Joe Crawford> <San Diego> <California> <USA> <FEBRUARY> <2003>

<birthday number=”5years”>XML</birthday>; Thoughts on HTML’s Popularity

From XML at Five from

Rick Jelliffe … criticized XHTML: “HTML thrived on being more forgiving of missing tags than even SGML allowed. Throwing that away makes HTML a lot less attractive. Which is true of markup in general, actually.”

With which I wholeheartedly agree. HTML is supposedly the most common electronic document type on the planet. Why? Because it was butt-simple to learn and use. XHTML is rigid. I think for the most part this rigidity doesn’t buy a whole lot. HTML 4.01 works great for most uses. Mind you, I like to play in xhtml, as in SDBloggers or my DHTML thing or several old splash pages. But I also think it should be painfully easy for people to build web pages.

Would the web be as popular now if Browsers were unforgiving of bad markup? If only rocket-scientists could author web pages? I say no. The explicit and rigid nature of XHTML would have scared people off. So as much as us old timer’s (mind you, I started in 1996, just as the waves were beginning, but not at the very beginning) object to the tag soup that developed over the years. There was a beautiful method to the madness. The WWW flourished because anyone with Notepad could build a website, whether you know the difference between semantic markup, schemas, document type definitions, or any of it.

De facto beats de jure every time.

posted this 21 years ago.

(Thursday February 20th 2003 at 10:00pm)

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