January 13, 2003

XHTML 2.0

Mark Pilgrim finally got pushed over the edge.

Standards are bullshit. XHTML is a crock. The W3C is irrelevant.

He’s ranting about XHTML 2.0, as so many have done in the past. Me? I don’t think it’s worth worrying over. I have a distinct feeling that XHTML 2.0 is never going to catch on or see any kind of widespread adoption, and it was never meant to. The W3 released it as an April Fool’s joke to lash out at everyone who was complaining that HTML hadn’t been updated for so long. It’s the only explanation. HTML has reached a stable plateau, and I can see it staying there for pretty much the rest of its useful life. Backwards compatibility is never going to go away, because browsers like Netscape 4 will never die completely. Any progress from here on out will be done in XML, and there will be advances on that front, but HTML as we know it is something we’re going to be stuck with for a long time. A move away from it, even to XHTML 2.0, would require a simultaneous migration to brand new web browsers at some point in history, and the majority of people out there – the ones who don’t give a pig’s snout about technical matters and who upgrade their computers once every seven years – would revolt if we tried to push a whole new Web on them. So, for me, it’s only XHTML 2.0 that’s irrelevant.

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