We'll Miss You XHTML 2
- Sun 12 Jul 2009 at 9:44
The W3C officially announced last week (2 July 2009) that they will not be renewing the charter for the XHTML 2 Working Group (external link) at the end of 2009. Their objective is to increase the resources of HTML 5, in order to accelerate the completion of the specification. I was not entirely surprised by the W3C's decision because HTML 5 has been receiving a lot of marketing buzz thanks to the big wigs at Apple and Google. All the browser makers are rushing to implement parts of the HTML 5 Working Draft, but there has not been a single attempt of an implementation of XHTML 2, at least as far as I am aware. It makes sense for the W3C to devote more resources to the specifications that companies are actually adopting.
I have always been a fan of XHTML 2, mainly because HTML 5 feels bloated and tag-happy and, overall, the wrong direction for the web. I see XHTML 2 as a fresh start towards a truly semantic web, whilst I see HTML 5 as an attempt to build semantic meaning on top of the current, presentation-oriented HTML. Will it work? Perhaps, but I guess the question is no longer up for debate. Web developers are now stuck with HTML 5, whether we like it or not.
I waited a week to write this blog entry because I wanted to see how the blogosphere responded to the death of XHTML 2. Really, all of the blog posts I read seemed to praise "the birth of HTML 5" (external link). No one seemed to question HTML 5 and whether it is actually the right direction for the web. Jeffrey Zeldman wrote an interesting blog post that at least defends XHTML 1.x (external link), something that these all-of-a-sudden HTML lovers (bandwagon anyone?) are patronising. Also, the idea of the HTML lovers that XHTML 2 died because it was "too strict" is simply absurd. XHTML 2 died because it was too revolutionary, not because it was too strict. If I read/hear one more person claim that XHTML is too strict, I am going to throw a fit!
At the end of the day, XHTML 2 is dead and gone. I could sit here and endlessly write about why I do not like HTML 5, but this blog post is meant to commemorate XHTML 2. We'll miss you XHTML 2!