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Zugg
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Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 8:05 pm   

My HTML 4.01 "depreciated" rant
 
I thought I'd make a placeholder post where I can rant and throw tantrums about HTML, CSS, and W3C standards.

1) WHY is the U tag depreciated??? OK, it was bad enough when they got rid of the FONT tag. I can sort of even understand that. But getting rid of the U tag for underline? Come on people. Next thing you know they'll get rid of B and I too and remove the ability to do *any* simple formatting without a style sheet.

2) Going through the W3C validator is coming up with all sorts of stuff that I don't like. For example, you have to put a HIDDEN tag field within a block-level element. So you can't just do:
Code:
<form...>
  <input type="hidden"...>

Since the hidden field doesn't take up any space on the screen, this is stupid. But because they use the INPUT tag for a hidden field and INPUT normally has a visual element, they can't properly validate the HTML.

3) I've got back and forth over XHTML vs HTML 4.01. I wrote most of the site with XHTML in mind, just because it's a newer standard. So I'm always putting the / before the closing > in various tags. HTML 4.01 doesn't flag some of those (it allows <BR/> for example), but does flag others (it doesn't like <HR/> or <INPUT.../>). But most of the site is in lower-case, and used proper shorttag closings. But I kept running into more and more XHTML restrictions that I didn't like. So now I'm switching to a DOCTYPE for HTML 4.01 instead.

4) Neither XHTML or HTML seem to like my trick of putting a form within a table. This is used in the Friends and Trusted Contact list for the "Add" feature. It needs to be a separate form from the area where the checkboxes is. But this is tabular data, so I MUST use a table to get the headings to line up with the variable number of columns. I might look into combining the two forms within this table at some point, but it seems to work just fine in all browsers, so I'm annoyed that it screws up the page validation.

I guess I'm just going to have to take all of this validation stuff with a grain of salt. While it pointed out some actual problems in some pages, most of it is just nit-picking standards crap that the W3C cares about, but none of the browsers care about.
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Tarn
GURU


Joined: 10 Oct 2000
Posts: 853
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 11:50 pm   Re: My HTML 4.01 "depreciated" rant
 
Zugg wrote:

1) WHY is the U tag depreciated??? OK, it was bad enough when they got rid of the FONT tag. I can sort of even understand that. But getting rid of the U tag for underline? Come on people. Next thing you know they'll get rid of B and I too and remove the ability to do *any* simple formatting without a style sheet.


I appreciate the goals but this gradual transition is actually more annoying than a clean break. At least it's part of a consistent movement to pull explicit visual markup out of document bodies. As you said at the end of your message, being "Validated HTML 4.01" isn't actually worth much- it's not as if browsers are going to drop support for older pages any time soon. There's stuff that was deprecated 10 years ago that's still in wide use :)

Quote:

3) I've got back and forth over XHTML vs HTML 4.01. I wrote most of the site with XHTML in mind, just because it's a newer standard. So I'm always putting the / before the closing > in various tags. HTML 4.01 doesn't flag some of those (it allows <BR/> for example), but does flag others (it doesn't like <HR/> or <INPUT.../>). But most of the site is in lower-case, and used proper shorttag closings. But I kept running into more and more XHTML restrictions that I didn't like. So now I'm switching to a DOCTYPE for HTML 4.01 instead.


That's the kind of thing that's leading me to write my own CMS to avoid having to recode html to make it easy to transition to XHTML or successors as required or to various subsets supported by lesser browsers (not a good thing, as it feels like wasted work).

-Tarn
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Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 12:20 am   
 
I also decided that HTML 4.01 was probably "more universal" than XHTML, especially when I start thinking about mobile cell-phone browsing. It's just a guess, but I'd think that lesser browsers would be more likely to handle HTML.

Yeah, what bugs me about the huge wave of CSS support is that some people seem to forget that HTML still has it's uses as a simple markup language *without* any style sheet information. CSS is all fine and good and I like it for many reasons. But I don't see the reason to remove simple stuff like the U tag from the HTML spec. Like you said, it's not like any browser is going to drop support for it, so why bother removing it from the spec?
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Fang Xianfu
GURU


Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 5155
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 7:43 am   
 
I always liked the user-friendliness of simple HTML, too. I remember, back in the day, learning some simple HTML in an afternoon and having enough to put up a simple, navigable site. Seems to me that nowadays, you'd have to be Stephen Hawking to learn it all that fast.
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