Matt Jones

Semantic Web: Obsolete?

  • Posted by Matt (Permalink)
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‘Standards are bullshit. XHTML is a crock. The W3C is irrelevant.’


Mark Pilgrim rocks the boat again with an attack on the W3C for deprecating XHTML tags that make his site work. The development of XHTML has seen the W3C slowly chip away at the specification of HTML, and for good reason: to make the Web leaner, faster and easier to build. Because the W3C are dropping a handful of tags like and, Mark seems to believe that they are dropping semantic mark-up.

The Dive Into series of sites constitute some of the most informationally rich and well put together web sites I have ever seen. Marks vast knowledge of web development has won him respect from many web designers who read and respond to his posts on a daily basis. However, in this case, I find myself disagreeing with his self-important stance on XHTML 2 and the future of the web. Surely developing for the web is about excepting that it is in a constant state of transition towards something better and part of the challenge is not to be too reliant on certain technologies.

On browsing through the latest working draft of the XHTML 2 specification, there seems to be some startling omissions like the `` tag as well as the suggestion that the `

through to

` tags will be deprecated. If this is the case, then the vast majority of web sites are going to look pretty weird when XHTML 2 is implemented. But it doesn't work like that, does it? Browsers will begin to support XHTML 2 but at the same time continue to support XHTML 1 and HTML 4. Surely there will be a XHTML 2 transitional doctype allowing it to be valid with the odd or tag included. Just because XHTML 2 presents a big change doesn't mean that web sites are going to stop working tomorrow; it's aim is to make the Web more meaningful and more importantly, to make it easier for everyone to create.

*[W3C]: World Wide Web Consortium *[XHTML]: (X)tensible Hypertext Mark-up Language