HTML and XHTML and bears, oh my!

James Bennett writes on why HTML is the markup for him. There really isn’t anything to agree or disagree with, because he’s expressing his personal preferences. To him, the fact that you can co-mingle different vocabularies, such as XHTML, SVG, RDF, and MathML, isn’t enough to overcome the draconian error handling (there’s that term again, death to the term). Fair enough: XHTML isn’t for everyone.

One point of clarification, though: HTML5 isn’t just HTML, it’s also XHTML5. I know that the specification is misleadingly named, and seems to implicitly promise a path away from XHTML in the future, but I’d hate that those who prefer HTML would close that road for the rest of us; somehow helping to remove the option of using XHTML for those who have worked through the XML error handling in order to reach the advantages of a truly open page markup.

Working through the XML processing becomes less of a challenge as time goes on, as tools undertake the “burden” of ensuring proper markup so that we don’t have to be so encumbered. I’ve found the htmLawed Drupal plug-in to be wonderfully adapted to solving so many of the problems I’ve had with character encoding in the past. As for generating proper markup in the post, I can either manage the markup myself, which typically consists of paragraph and hypertext links, with an occasional image or SVG document; or I can have the filtered HTML option handle the markup, as it seems to respect and not munge SVG documents.

As for site design, every Drupal theme I’ve adapted so far has validated as strict XHTML. Makes my job pretty easy.

The point isn’t that HTML is better than XHTML, or that XHTML is better than HTML. The point is we all have our preferences, and we should expect browsers to properly handle both—now and in the future.

(via Simon)

Copyright Social Media

Mobs 2.0 and the AP

I’ve withheld writing before on the AP fooflah, primarily because writing counter to the Mob is about the same as throwing a sandbag on a levee that’s already broken. Now the Mob is descending on the Media Bloggers Association because Rogers contacted that organization for legal advice, and the organization’s lead knows the AP folks.

The noise is that the Media Bloggers Association doesn’t represent the webloggers, which is something that the MBA has never claimed. What’s really at stake, though, is discovering that, as I thought and wrote in comments to some of last week’s posts, there is more to this story than first appeared with Rogers’ initial posting. The concept of waiting to hear all the facts, though, seems to be anathema in this environment now. Report first and maybe fact check some other time seems to be the credo of a disappointing large number of A listers who actually call themselves “journalists”.

What’s particularly sad about this recent variation of the AP fooflah, isn’t so much that the MBA is representing “all” bloggers so much, but that people like Jeff Jarvis, Michael Arrington, Matthew Ingram, and Teresa Nielsen Hayden, at Making Light, seem to be offended that Robert Cox is getting attention, which we assume, should be directed at Jeff Jarvis, Michael Arrington, Matthew Ingram, and Teresa Nielsen Hayden. This following digging up an old AP form, set up for businesses who want to incorporate AP content into their material, and making a breathless and astonishing leap of judgment that this is what the AP’s answer to webloggers is going to be. Talk about manufacturing facts out of whole cloth— this, this is our newest form of journalism?

How much of this is really based on outrage and how much is based on wanting to generate attention is a difficult to separate at this time— a fact that should give us serious pause. The outrage is disproportionate to the event, until such time as the AP comes out with more information about what they feel is, or is not, fair use. Remember, it doesn’t make the organization evil because it wants to provide clarification as to its interpretation of fair use. Also remember that just because you’re a blogger doesn’t mean you get to set all the rules. We’re not six year olds, demanding our lollies.

Scott Rosenberg has a good point in that it is important to hear the AP’s guidelines and interpretation of fair use, because both could have far reaching impact on how we write in these spaces. However, Rosenberg has not joined the “burn ’em first, ask questions later” war path; deciding to join with others, including Denise Howell at Lawgarithms, and the New York Time’s Saul Hansell, in wanting to find out the facts, first, before taking match to the current effigy du jour.

What’s chilling about this event is Michael Arrington’s post deriding Hansell for his coverage of this event. Hansell’s coverage has presented both sides of this issue, in a manner that is both thoughtful and level headed. In particular, he deplored the over the top reactions among some webloggers, including demands for AP boycotts, the benefit of which will only increase the exposure of a few at the expense of the many. To chastise him for what is nothing more than decent reporting is to chastise anyone daring to have a differing opinion from The Mob.

What I’m seeing with Arrington and the others is a demand for group think; an it’s their way or the highway implicit directive that, to me, is a greater threat to truly free and open communication within weblogging than anything the AP can or will do.


Sandbagging and levee breaches

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

CNN has a summary post of the levee breaches and the state of flooding in both Illinois and Missouri, including links to videos on the levee break at Winfield. The films especially show how dangerous levee breaches can be, and why we so desperately try to prevent them.

I impulsively ran out of the house yesterday to help sandbag, only stopping to grab gloves on the way. I forgot to put on suntan lotion or a hat, and my face is pretty burned and swollen today. I won’t be going out to sandbag during the day, but plan on going out this evening when the sun is down.

There is still a threat of major flooding and levee breaches all down the Mississippi in Missouri and Illinois, so there’s still a desperate need for sandbaggers.