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.