HTML and CSS Reference
In-Depth Information
of those that are, are done incorrectly. Poor developer education, the more stringent syntax
requirements, and ultimately the lack of obvious tangible benefit may have kept many from
adopting the XML variant of HTML.
Misconception: XHTML Is Dead
Although XHTML hasn't taken Web development by storm, the potential rise of HTML5
does not spell the end of XHTML. In fact, you can write XML-style markup in HTML,
which most developers dub XHTML 5. For precision, XHTML is the way to go, particularly
when used in an environment that includes other forms of XML documents. XHTML's
future is bright for those who build well-formed, valid markup documents.
Myth: Traditional HTML Is Going Away
HTML is the foundation of the Web; with literally billions of pages in existence, not every
document is going to be upgraded anytime soon. The “legacy” Web will continue for years,
and traditional nonstandardized HTML will always be lurking around underneath even the
most advanced Web page years from now. Beating the standards drum might speed things
up a bit, but the fact is, there's a long way to go before we are rid of messed-up markup.
HTML5 clearly acknowledges this point by documenting how browsers should act in light
of malformed markup.
Having taught HTML for years and having seen how both HTML editors and people
build Web pages, I think it is very unlikely that strictly conforming markup will be the norm
anytime soon. Although (X)HTML has had rules for years, people have not really bothered to
follow them; from their perspective, there has been little penalty for failing to follow the
rules, and there is no obvious benefit to actually studying the language rigorously. Quite
often, people learn markup simply through imitation by viewing the source of existing
pages, which are not necessarily written correctly, and going from there. Like learning a
spoken language, (X)HTML's loosely enforced rules have allowed many document authors
to get going quickly. Its biggest flaw is in some sense its biggest asset and has allowed
millions of people to get involved with Web page authoring. Rigor and structure is coming,
but it will take time, tools, and education.
Myth: Someday Standards Will Alleviate All Our Problems
Standards are important. Standards should help. Standards likely won't fix everything.
From varying interpretations of standards, proprietary additions, and plain old bugs, there
is likely never going to be a day where Web development, even at the level of (X)HTML
markup, doesn't have its quirks and oddities. The forces of the market so far have proven
this sentiment to be, at the very least, wishful thinking. Over a decade after first being
considered during the writing of this topic's first edition, the wait for some standards
nirvana continues.
Myth: Hand-Coding of HTML Will Continue Indefinitely
Although some people will continue to craft pages in a manner similar to mechanical
typesetting, as Web editors improve and produce standard markup perfectly, the need to
hand-tweak HTML documents will diminish. Hopefully, designers will realize that knowledge
of the “invisible pixel” trick or the CSS Box Model Hack is not a bankable resume item and
instead focus on development of their talents along with a firm standards-based understanding
of markup, CSS, and JavaScript.
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