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XHTML in the Real World

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In this chapter from her book Special Edition Using XHTML, Molly Holzschlag discusses several complex and historical issues surrounding HTML -- how it became what it is today and how it can be fixed. While the current problems with Web markup are not necessarily our fault, they do exist at many levels and have therefore become our responsibility. This chapter is an honest assessment of where we as Web authors have been, where we are today, and where we need to go to make our lives and work less frustrating and more progressive.
In This Chapter
  • A Return to Clean Code

  • The Trouble with HTML

  • Transcending Limitations on Progress

A Return to Clean Code

As I discussed in Chapter 1, "Understanding XHTML 1.0," and Chapter 2, "XHTML Foundations," part of the major drive with regards to XHTML is to bring a clean and organized methodology back into the picture of Web development. Years of rapid growth and a demand for bigger, better, faster, cooler Web pages have laid waste to some of the initial integrity of Web markup.

When XML hit the scene, people talked about it being the "HTML Killer." It turned out that they were right, but not necessarily in the sense they originally meant! Although XML has not replaced HTML as a Web markup language at this time, it has significantly changed the way HTML is being viewed in terms of standards.


Assessing Present Concerns - This chapter deals with a lot of complex and historical issues surrounding HTML and how it got the way it got. And, how it can be fixed. Some of my commentary might seem negative, but I want to set in your minds up front that the problems with Web markup today are not necessarily our fault. However, these problems do, at many levels, become our responsibility. After all, we're the ones paying attention. We're the ones being challenged to make our documents and designs work in the real world. Our agendas are probably quite different from those of profit-oriented software developers. So when I talk about sloppy code and how we need to clean it up, I mean that not as a criticism of past practices per se, but as an honest assessment of where we as Web authors have been, where we are today, and where we need to go to make our lives and work less frustrating and more progressive.


 

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