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Which html version are you using?

By dchud, Section Ask Anything
Posted on Mon Mar 8th, 2004 at 10:02:21 AM EST
Like most of you, I manage a few different kinds of websites, each with its own audience, and am working on some new projects as well. It's striking how many of the popular tools for putting something online have gotten better at standards support just in the last 24 months. In particular, I'm impressed by the level of support for, say, xhtml, out of the box in new weblog tools, and that kind of thing. Whether this corresponds directly to the improvement in browser behavior or not I have no idea. Still, though, I can't help but wonder: is it yet safe to design for xhtml, and leave the old ns4-and-friends crowd behind? I can't help but guess that yes, it is, as of March 2004, but still feel uncertain about it.

What do you think? Can I finally go ahead and start doing block layouts with CSS and leave those nasty nested tables behind? Is the answer "yes, just as long as you also conform with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines", or otherwise positive-yet-nuanced? Or is it still too soon, for whatever reason? And have the design gurus weighed in on this recently?

 

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Poll
Which html version are you using?
XHTML 1.1 0%
XHTML 1.0 Strict 14%
XHTML 1.0 Transitional 42%
HTML 4.01 0%
HTML 3.2 14%
HTML 2.0 0%
More than one, depends on audience 28%
Whatever dreamweaver/frontpage/etc. does by default 0%
I should pay attention to these things? 0%
Whatever &lt;blink&gt;blinks&lt;/blink&gt; your boat 0%

Votes: 7
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
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Which html version are you using? | 7 comments (7 topical, 0 editorial, 0 pending) | Post A Comment
Time for CSS (none / 0) (#1)
by art on Mon Mar 8th, 2004 at 11:54:46 AM EST
(User Info) http://www.uwindsor.ca/library/leddy/people/art

Taken slightly out of context, see here, Thomas Dowling's comment is that:
...it's standard operating procedure to hide all but the most basic CSS from NS4.x, and the techniques for doing so are well documented. And IMO it is not worth losing sleep over how a document looks in NS4 any more, as long as it works correctly for the few people still stuck with it.
One site I really like for XHTML and CSS info is the NYPL Style Guide. Ideally, I think you would want your content generated dynamically based on the detected browser, but coming from a site that uses Lotus Notes for web services, it's clear that a lot of web solutions are not ready for this yet. I would love to do more with Zope (good management layer, python tools, XML support) + Cocoon (solid web publishing, good caching) for this type of thing.

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XHTML + CSS (none / 0) (#3)
by BHD on Mon Mar 8th, 2004 at 03:51:12 PM EST
(User Info)

I think XHTML + CSS is definitely the way to go for new projects.  The advantages are so large that it's a pity to hold things back just to support outdated or standard-uncompliant browsers.  

I actually just about screamed the other day when browsing a library AP photo database and was rejected with a "bad browser" warning when using two different totally standards compliant browsers!

Anyway, here's a nice site for seeing the possibilities of XHTML and CSS design.

http://www.webstandardsawards.com/

PS - And only use tables for, well, tabular data.

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XHTML and CSS all the way! (none / 0) (#4)
by roy on Mon Mar 8th, 2004 at 04:22:41 PM EST
(User Info) http://escholarship.cdlib.org/rtennant/

At the California Digital Library we have made the leap conceptually, but not yet completely in practice. That is, we are attempting to go completely with XHTML and CSS, but lack of staff expertise is holding us back a bit. We were able to pull it off in our "Inside CDL" site (see http://www.cdlib.org/inside/), but the main site, http://www.cdlib.org/ is still doing such things as tables for layout control. We're getting there, but we still do little CSS hacks for those left behind in the dark ages. My favorite CSS site is CSS Zen Garden, which takes the same HTML page and transforms it in half-a-dozen ways to create extremely different looks. Amazing!

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XHTML + CSS (none / 0) (#5)
by adam on Tue Mar 9th, 2004 at 12:37:01 AM EST
(User Info) http://www.library.arizona.edu/

The University of Arizona Library is on its way, I think, to producing external-user content with XHTML and CSS.  In the past we have, as I think others have, produced content using what we knew at the time.  Just in the past several months I coded a view into a CONTENTdm collection we have using only CSS for layout - the first of it's kind for the Library as far as I am aware.

Right now we are in the process of a site (main user interface for the library) redesign.  From that will come firm standards for both internal and external customer orientated sites.  If I may be so bold as to conjecture, I think we will be focusing on external sites using XHTML 1.0 Strict + CSS and internal sites using XHTML Transitional / Strict + CSS if the developer can muster it.  There is still some debate over how we will control the content input of all the team (department) sites.

The key, of course, is graceful degradation for older browsers.  It's an issue that for a long time I thought would go away with the death of the 4.X browser family, but since Microsoft's announcement of their plans to put the latest version of IE into maintenance mode only I've given up that pipe dream (though not without some kicking and screaming).

While I won't go so far as to presume that all libraries will be putting forth their content in the XHTML + CSS combination, I would be interested to hear from those that are taking that path on how they plan to address their legacy content.  We have, as  I think most libraries do, a wealth of content that is coded what is now often deprecated code.  It's one of those subjects that makes people shift uncomfortably in their seats and I'm not altogether convinced that browsers will soon develop in such a way as to make those older sites unreadable.  However, it's one of those skeletons in the closet that raps raps on my chamber door.

Apologies if this post is a tad on the long side.  It's my first post and its on a subject near and dear to my heart.

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The University of Arizona Library (none / 0) (#7)
by 16pp on Mon Jan 3rd, 2005 at 05:18:58 AM EST
(User Info)

The University of Arizona Library is on its way, I think, to producing external-user content with XHTML and CSS. In the past we have, as I think others have, produced content using what we knew at the time. Just in the past several months I coded a view into a CONTENTdm collection we have using only CSS for layout - the first of it's kind for the Library as far as I am aware e Weekly Movie Guide Newsletter on Fridays. Special offer for TV Guide users.Sign up now to receive WebMD's newsletters. You will get access to WebMD

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Which html version are you using? | 7 comments (7 topical, 0 editorial, 0 pending) | Post A Comment
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