I've been thinking quite a bit on the state of HTML the last couple of days and I've come to change some of my thinking. Anyone who's made a website that plays nice with the various browsers out there knows the messy state of HTML. It's for no reason that we got the term "tagsoup". Many webdevelopers have been crying to Microsoft begging them to update their render engine in Internet Explorer to conform with the W3C recommended standards. However, as we all are painfully aware of, no such thing has happend after the end of the great browserwar. In fact, the only updates IE has gotten after Windows XP was first released is security fixes.

Now, it's understandable that it's not an easy task to update a piece of software that is so tightly integrated with the OS. And IE isn't just a browser, it's a development platform on it's own. Most people are familiar with the CHM help files, HTML based help files, and then you got HTA applications as well. This might be less familiar, but Windows Media Players "Now Playing" page is a HTA application. And additionally many companies has created server applications with IE which they rely on. So the bottom line is that MS, IE has dug them self and us, the webdevelopers, into a huge pit. Recently the IE development team announced that they are fixing issues with their rendeing engine and are also catching up on some of the W3C standards. This has cause the everlasting standards discuissions to flame up again. (Not that it was ever gone, but this is like pouring gasoline to the fire.)

One of the things that often is said is that people want IE fill the pit and fix everything. And it is here that I have changed my state of thoughts. I say, leave the pit! It's not worth the effort. Simply accept that the IE way of handling HTML has become the standard and W3C lost. Instead try to push forward to XHTML. But with the requirement that there isn't beeing dug a new pit. With XHTML there is a opportunity to move on and leave the old souppit behind. Let HTML be rendered in it's quirky way. But make XHTML and CSS render as it should. This will make the legacy websites and applications that rely on the soup to still work. At the same time we can start migrating to XHTML which doesn't have the quirkiness yet. I would really like to adopt XHTML 1.1 that let me modulize XHTML and add other XML modules if I like. However, for this to happend we need to have IE with us since by their size basicly makes the standards when it comes to practical use. Even though everyone else pushes forward to new standards it doesn't really help since it can't be applied to the biggest marketshare of users.

I'm very happy that the IE team finally is working on the standards again, but I'm concerned that history repeats and that it might be a long time until next time we get a new update. The announcement at the IE blog said:

I want to be clear that our intent is to build a platform that fully complies with the appropriate web standards, in particular CSS 2 ( 2.1, once it’s been Recommended). I think we will make a lot of progress against that in IE7 through our goal of removing the worst painful bugs that make our platform difficult to use for web developers

My hope is that this includes XHTML 1.0 and XHTML 1.1. My fair is that it will be almost support for XHTML and the CSS (1 and 2) will be nearly complete leaving XHTML to decay in the same state as HTML until next time they get the chance to update their render engine. I'd much rather not have XHTML support in IE until it actually works as it is defined in the W3C standard recommandations. With the big marketshare of users and slow development time of IE I really hope they move carefully when they first more.

EDIT: Added more paragraphs

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on Aug 06, 2005
I would rather fight for more paragraphs.


Posted via WinCustomize Browser/Stardock Central
on Aug 06, 2005
now what do I say? Processing? sob. §§§
on Aug 06, 2005
I want to be clear that our intent is to build a platform that fully complies with the appropriate web standards, in particular CSS 2 ( 2.1, once it’s been Recommended). I think we will make a lot of progress against that in IE7 through our goal of removing the worst painful bugs that make our platform difficult to use for web developers


and if you believe that...i gotta bridge i was thinkin bout sellin you. on 2nd consideration, you need it worse than i do.
on Aug 07, 2005
I have been studing xhtml and its really cool. CSS has come a long way.

For me, its not about tag soup because I understand it at least when it comes to tables, but using the new xhtml will allow web apps to go to the next level... div tags it the best!
on Aug 07, 2005
I've been thinking quite a bit on the state of HTML the last couple of days








Oh dear. Ladies and gentleman allow me to present ..."The Nerd".

Simply accept that the IE way of handling HTML has become the standard and W3C lost. Instead try to push forward to XHTML


Clearly you weren't thinking very hard. Your suggestion is to reward a vendor who hasn't complied with the previous standard by making their misshapen, market-share grabbing hack of an implementation the actual standard.

And you expect that this will compel and motivate them to comply with the future standard? Bizarre. The reason this is such a bad idea is that it sets a precendent, makes a joke of the Governing body and penalises every other vendor for complying with the actual standard in the first place.

Very very bad idea. A better idea is to maintain the current standard and rely on market forces to satisfy the demand of all those developers and users who want a standards compliant browser.i.e Punish Microsoft through competition....its the only reason we're getting tabbed browsing in IE7.

When a vendor with a platform called "Windows" doesn't put tabbed panes in their browser until the competitor does it, dont think it had anything to do with a lack of capability. Competition is the only thing thats driving it now and you dont stimulate competition by caving on standards and penalising everyone who isn't themselves big enough to push you around.
on Aug 07, 2005
would rather fight for more paragraphs.


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