Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Mark Pilgrim is a bit testy about the removal of certain elements within the XHTML 2.0 spec — specifically the *cite element. I checked around the forums associated with the XHTML working group’s effort. From what I can see, looks like the removal of cite may have been an accident.

Still, even if the removal was deliberate, if people aren’t happy about the XHTML specification and the direction it’s heading, why aren’t they talking at the W3C XHTML forum? The W3C isn’t going to go around our weblogs and look for our opinions. No offense but there’s probably 100,000 ‘regular web site’ pages for every weblogging page on the Net. Media darlings or not, we ain’t that big a thang …yet.

For instance, yesterday I found the following in the forum, which should warm Mark’s heart:


As it is in its 2002-12-11 WD, I think that XHTML 2.0 is far
away from both what the Web Authors are expecting and from what
could be done to “lead the Web to its full potential”.

The current WD makes some strategic choices (style attribute
for instance) that seem to me harmful.

I see no incentive for a Web Author to ever move to XHTML 2 from
a simple XMLized version of the actual transitional HTML4 (call
that as you wish). XHTML 2.0 does not contain ANY new key feature
and seem to get totally rid of all Authors’ requests between 1998
and today.

From my perspective, XHTML 2.0 as it is today is a failure and the
work of the HTML WG on this topic should be immediately and
totally reoriented.


Tantek Celik posted a link to Mark’s rant out at the XHTML forum and others who have responded have also agreed with my interpretation — it looks like the element was dropped by accident.

Regardless of ‘accident’ or not, the very fact that Tantek can post to this forum (which is monitored by the working group) demonstrates that there is communication paths to the W3C. Have a beef with XHTML 2.0? Then take it to the source, because there’s no guarantee that the W3C have even heard of Daypop much less read it with the breathless anticipation webloggers exhibit.

If you do choose to post out at the XHTML forum, a word to the wise: Just don’t have a hissy fit if you find that the people in the forum don’t agree with you, and have valid arguments to back their opinion.

*Personally, I’m more concerned about XHTML 2.0 dropping the style attribute than I am the cite element, though I understand the reasoning. And also note, the working group hasn’t dropped support for H1-H6 headers — they’re considering this based on issues raised.


search on ‘cite’ in the W3C-html (XHTML) forum.

Second Update:

We were correct — the cite element’s drop was an accident. A member of the W3C working group just posted to the forum that it will be put back in the next draft.

Third Update:

Fooflah. Mark has decided to continue with his snit about XHTML 2.0. I believe that his interpretation about the reason for the return of the CITE element is a bit self-centered — there was discussion about this before Mark’s post (as I pointed out in my post, linking to the relevant HTML forum news item), and general acknowledgement that this was most likely just a drafting error. And Let’s hope he doesn’t mind if we don’t choose to follow in his golden ‘well-linked’ footsteps about the direction we’ll take when it comes to technology implementation. I’m heading towards XHTML 1.0, not ‘back’ to HTML 4.0.


RSS push back

I guess I won’t be finding any interest in my SORSS syndication format because the weblogging kingdom is now circling about XHTML as a syndication format. In other words, publish your page as XHTML and let aggregators scrape it.

It looks as if Anil Dash started the discussion with a well written suggestion:

My new syndication format is called XHTML. I propose that existing syndication and aggregation clients should be able to read an HTML file, detect if it has the appropriate XHTML doctype, and then render the contents of each XHTML node in the appropriate place in the client’s display. All that would be needed is standardization of names and classes for page elements like DIVs and headers. A post/entry title would always be an H3, with a class set to “title”, for example. Permanent links would always be P tags with their classes set to “permalink”. Simple.

What was particularly nice about Anil’s posting is that it generated a lot of good discussion and commenting, and no animosity. Pay particular attention to Timothy Appnel’s comments, which I think were quite good. (Thanks to Chris for heads up on excellent discussion.)

The “RSS Rebellion” has now spread elsewhere:

Mark wrote a Python program to scrape HTML and generate an RSS stream. You know, that boy do like Python, doesn’t he? Wait a sec — he just turned 30. Excuse me, I should have said that man do like Python.


Mark based his efforts on the discussion at tantek/log.


Aaron Swartz likes the idea and provides an XSLT implementation (and links to other discussions).

Personally, though I have just finished a template re-design for most of my pages that validates as strict XHTML 1.0 (not implemented yet, so don’t test this page), I have no interest in someone grabbing whatever they want for syndication from my web page, including the entire posting. I’d rather they take the excerpt I give them, which I can control by having a seperate syndication feed. Besides, I’m going to implement SORSS for my site. You know, that Dark and Beautiful Queen thing.

So why am I interested in and promoting this debate? I’m all for bubbling the Daypop joy juice, watching to see what floats to the top.