Simon Willison’s Weblog


Polluting the web

24th November 2002

Hixie and Aaron Swartz are debating Hixie’s infamous Sending XHTML as text/html Considered Harmful on a W3C mailing list. While I am just as guilty of sending XHTML as text/html as anyone else (I’ve been meaning to fix this for a while but just haven’t found time yet) I’ll stick in an argument that Hixie hasn’t used yet. Sending XHTML as text/html basically amounts to pollution of the web. As far as the XML user agents of the future are concerned (which are supposedly one of the main reasons we use XHTML) an invalid XHTML document is unparseable and thus unreadable. Anyone who has tried to keep an XHTML blog valid will know how difficult it is to keep it that way, and without a browser refusing to display the document (as happened with Mozilla and diveintomark the other day thanks to an XML content type and a missing end tag) it can be all to easy to contribute to the pollution. As it stands, a massive proportion of the supposedly XHTML web may as well be just so many random floating bytes.

This is Polluting the web by Simon Willison, posted on 24th November 2002.

Next: phpPatterns

Previous: Get the look

Previously hosted at