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A quick pointer in the direction of valid HTML

Discussion in 'HTML, Graphics & Programming' started by |Ric|, 14 Jul 2006.

  1. |Ric|

    Hitman

    Joined: 28 Jun 2005

    Posts: 895

    I have just started fiddling around with HTML and PHP this summer after not touching it seriously for a couple of years.
    I never produced "valid" html by a long way when I used to do it.
    If I use w3 to validate the code what doctype should I use for standard code? HTML 4.01 strict or maybe Transistional or should I aim to validate it to XHTML 1.0 (either strict or transistional)?

    Does it particularly make a difference who I am aiming it at as to what I choose? Is there always one that 99% of the time I should use?

    Thanks for any input
    Ric.
     
  2. iCraig

    PermaBanned

    Joined: 21 Apr 2004

    Posts: 13,314

    Location: Wolverhampton

    Aim for XHTML Transitional. Sometimes it can be more hassle than it's worth to get a large, complicated site working in Strict, so start with Trans for now. :)
     
  3. Augmented

    Soldato

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 5,464

    Location: London Town

    Yes.

    No.

    Doctypes provide information about [what describes] how each element in the markup language you're using should be interpreted. However, in reality this is not how they're used. For XHTML/HTML, browsers use these doctypes to switch rendering modes; between quirks, standards and almost-standards. You want to be aiming for a doctype that triggers standards mode in all the browsers you're aiming to support, as this means the browsers will render pages according to the W3C recommendations and you won't have to deal with any peculiarities. Strict doctypes trigger standards mode in most browsers, and so a strict doctype is what I recommend. There's no reason to be using a transitional doctype on a new site, since you're not transitioning any old code and thus have no need for backwards support.

    For a list of doctypes and the rendering modes they trigger : http://hsivonen.iki.fi/doctype/

    With regards to which standard you should be using - XHTML or HTML - well there's no right or wrong answer. One is not better than the other, they just serve different purposes, but it would be too lengthy a post to get into the details. It's probably best to point you in the direction of comparison articles so you can make your own mind up, and then come back with any specific queries you have :).

    http://www.robertnyman.com/2005/11/02/html-or-xhtml/
    http://24ways.org/advent/transitional-vs-strict-markup
     
  4. zetec452

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 15 Sep 2003

    Posts: 9,454

    Augmented you are a link producing machine.
     
  5. Augmented

    Soldato

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 5,464

    Location: London Town

    :D. I've had the first two bookmarked for quite a while - the doctype reference page is a classic.
     
  6. |Ric|

    Hitman

    Joined: 28 Jun 2005

    Posts: 895

    Thank you for those links and information :D

    Just get my head around html vs xhtml now

    Ric.
     
  7. iCraig

    PermaBanned

    Joined: 21 Apr 2004

    Posts: 13,314

    Location: Wolverhampton

    XHTML is a tighter version of HTML and is extensible. It's easier to write and to understand, and is more flexible and futureproof.
     
  8. Augmented

    Soldato

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 5,464

    Location: London Town

    Sure is extensible (not that anyone is actually doing that), but being futureproof applies in only some respects. Going by Microsoft's current timescale, we're unlikely to be able to use XHTML without crufty browser-sniffing or workarounds until about 2015. And who knows what we'll be using then.

    It's XML that is tighter than the SGML-ness of HTML. XHTML can be more verbose than HTML. It's only because the syntax of XHTML is more restrictive by the nature of the XML that it appears tighter than HTML. The DTDs are identical, bar the syntax requirements. There's no reason the author can't apply the same restrictions when writing HTML 4.01, negating the 'tightness' of XHTML syntax. Unless writing an 'EMPTY' element as <br /> instead of <br> is easier to write and understand?

    There's nothing wrong with XHTML, but I think it's better for an author make an informed choice about the different standards on the basis of the one that's right for the application in today's climate :).

    For clarity, when I say XHTML, I mean XHTML 1.0
     
    Last edited: 14 Jul 2006
  9. Sic

    Capodecina

    Joined: 9 Nov 2004

    Posts: 15,365

    Location: SO16

    i'd be inclined to agree with Augmented there...i don't think it's easier to write or understand. they're both logical in their own ways, and you can see valid reasons for doing it both ways, especially taking the <br>/<br /> or <img>/<img /> tags as examples; they're single entities with nothing enclosed...it's logical that you shouldn't HAVE to close them, but it's also logical in XHTML that you do have to...swings and roundabouts really.

    i use XHTML because the X makes it sound cool.



    i wish i was joking
     
  10. iCraig

    PermaBanned

    Joined: 21 Apr 2004

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    True, they're logically just as simple as each other.

    Sic, I share your feelings with the X.

    I want CSS4 to be called XCSS. :D
     
  11. Mr_L

    Mobster

    Joined: 28 Jan 2005

    Posts: 3,732

    Location: Worcester

    Shh, that's why everyone uses it.

    When you pronounce it, it always helps if you put extra emphasis on the X.

    XHTML
     
  12. Sic

    Capodecina

    Joined: 9 Nov 2004

    Posts: 15,365

    Location: SO16

    CSSX is easier to say, and sounds awesome. but people might think it's CSS10. how about CSS-xtreme?

    Mr_L...i always do that!!

    mate: did you do your site in html?
    me: no mate, Xhtml
    mate: what's the difference
    me: Xhtml sounds cooler
    mate: *pause*

    i feel like we need a William-Cartoon!
     
  13. iCraig

    PermaBanned

    Joined: 21 Apr 2004

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    Location: Wolverhampton

    *orgasm*
     
  14. |Ric|

    Hitman

    Joined: 28 Jun 2005

    Posts: 895

    Right I still don't understand particuarly why I would validate code for XHTML opposed to HTML. I've read those various links and a little puzzled about all this "serving XHTML as text/html" or not business.

    If I am just writing run of the mill webpages I am not as such using any extra functionailty of XHTML right? So all that happens if I want to validate for XHTML (so far in a very short and brief page) is I have to close some extra tags.

    Going back to the serving XHTML as text/html, here seems to frown upon authours using XHTML without really knowing why they are using it (ME!).
    At the end of the day if my code validates do I need to worry about this?

    Ric.
     
  15. Sic

    Capodecina

    Joined: 9 Nov 2004

    Posts: 15,365

    Location: SO16

    if you're using html 4.01 and it's working (across all browsers you use), and it validates, don't update for the sake of it. but i'd read up on what you'd need to do to make your code XHTML valid as well, because it doesn't hurt to have the extra skillset under your belt :)
     
  16. iCraig

    PermaBanned

    Joined: 21 Apr 2004

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    If your site isn't XHTML valid, you'll be removed from this sub-forum. :)

    But yeah, Sic's correct. It isn't obligatory that all sites should be XHTML. Just bear it in mind the next time you do a big update on the site, or if you do a new site from scratch. :)
     
  17. |Ric|

    Hitman

    Joined: 28 Jun 2005

    Posts: 895

    thats the thing, im just fiddling at the moment - half creating a new site. Should I make it XHTML compliant over HTML is what I really want to know :p
    I want it to be valid to one standard but I have no idea which
     
  18. Augmented

    Soldato

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 5,464

    Location: London Town

    Just pick one, it doesn't matter which. As long as you use a doctype that causes browsers to use standards-mode (i.e. Strict), it won't make the tiniest bit of difference whether you use XHTML or HTML. They will both be rendered and interpreted in exactly the same way when sent as text/html. The difference is that a browser receiving a valid XHTML document as text/html has to run error correction on the markup, whereas it won't have to for a valid HTML document. XHTML as text/html is technically invalid HTML, but it's part of the recommendation that browsers should be able support XHTML 1.0 as text/html, so it's not a big issue.

    If you can't make a choice, just go with XHTML. Because everyone's using it and abusing it, but nobody's making use of it :D.
     
  19. iCraig

    PermaBanned

    Joined: 21 Apr 2004

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    Plus you can stick one of those little badges on your site that everyone seems to do. :rolleyes:

    Whilst you have your head buried in the site, you may aswell do it in XHTML. That way, you'll learn about it and be ready for when it starts to kick in.
     
  20. Sic

    Capodecina

    Joined: 9 Nov 2004

    Posts: 15,365

    Location: SO16

    i'll make use of it one day...i just need to get some proper tutorials on XHTML as its own language, rather than a different way of writing html. when i first heard what it was capable of, i thought "awesome, i can write my own html tags", but i've not gotten round to implementing it yet. i'm rewriting my site at the moment, so i might try it then.