Aug 13

html5The best of plans sometimes go astray and so it was with the Word Wide Web Consortium (W3C) road map for web page structure. Those familiar with web design know the building blocks of web pages; (X)HTML, CSS, plus script and program languages.

• (X)HTML gives structure to web content.
• CSS controls web page presentation.
• Scripts and program languages add additional functionality.

The W3C road map for content structure went along the following path up until recently:

HTML4 > XHTML1.0 > XHTML1.1.

While each candidate recommendation contains additional features, such as additional elements and attributes, the key component progressively introduced along this road map was the requirement for “well formed” documents. What does this mean?

Essentially, a well formed document is one that has a defined structure and can be parsed (checked) against a reference called a Document Type Definition (DTD). A DTD specifies a document hierarchy by prescribing what markup elements are allowed and the sequence in which they must appear. Essentially, this is XML as defined in both XHTML1.0 and 1.1, but “excused” in XHTML1.0 in favour of more tolerant error parsing.

The truth is that something as high as 99% of web pages published contain markup errors but neither HTML4 or XHTML1.0 invoke error responses that cause page content not to be displayed. This is so because all browsers have elaborate and forgiving error correction routines. However, this tolerance was to be removed with the introduction of XHTML1.1 thereby forcing the introduction of “well formed” documents. A document that does not parse correctly would cause incorrectly marked up content not to be displayed by web browsers.

Representatives from Mozilla and Opera petitioned the W3C, arguing that the evolution of HTML should continue and, among other issues, should remain backward compatible with HTML4, including the retention of error correction routines that would not cause fatal errors because of incorrect markup.

The W3C rejected this proposal on the basis that it conflicted with their previously chosen direction for the evolution of the Web, centered on developing xml-based replacements for HTML4. Those interested in evolving HTML4, including Apple, Microsoft, Google, Opera, Mozilla formed their own working group called the WHATWG. The group still has its own website at http://www.whatwg.org/. Continue reading »

Feb 13

If Microsoft has its way, you won’t be able to buy XP after June 30th, 2008. According to some sources, the public wishes otherwise.

Like all new operating systems, Windows Vista ushered in a new era of incompatibility for existing Windows users. In spite of this, Microsoft plans to start retiring Windows XP on June 30th. Some users, however, want to keep XP alive for years to come so that they can continue to work reliably and efficiently.

According to a Popular Science report, there’s a grassroots effort to force Microsoft to keep selling XP to customers in shrink-wrapped packages and to OEMs. What’s behind this movement? Just to clarify, it’s not really a “grassroots” movement. It’s actually being orchestrated by InfoWorld, an online news publication. Continue reading »