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Added an HTML FAQ document, first draft.

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1 parent f5fb457 commit ca0aa9533f7c3a925f1115581872793bdf34bb34 @mitsuhiko mitsuhiko committed Jun 7, 2010
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  2. +162 −0 docs/htmlfaq.rst
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@@ -40,6 +40,7 @@ Design notes, legal information and changelog are here for the interested.
:maxdepth: 2
+ htmlfaq
162 docs/htmlfaq.rst
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+The Flask documentation and example applications are using HTML5. You
+will notice that in many situations when end tags are optional they are
+not used to keep the HTML cleaner and also faster to load. Because there
+is a lot of confusion about HTML and XHTML out there this document tries
+to answer some of them.
+History on XHTML
+For a while it looked like HTML was about to be replaced by XHTML.
+However barely any websites on the internet are actually real XHTML (which
+means XHTML processed with XML rules). There are a couple of reasons why
+this is the case. It mostly has to do with Internet Explorer which does
+not accept the XHTML mimetype to switch the browser into XML mode.
+However this is really easy to bypass but barely anyone does that. This
+probably has to do with the fact that XHTML is really painful.
+Why is it painful? XML has very strict errorhandling. On a parsing error
+the browser is supposed to show the user an ugly error message. Most of
+the (X)HTML generation on the web is based on non-XML template engines
+(such as Jinja, the one used in Flask) which do not protect you from
+accidentally creating invalid HTML. There are XML based template engines
+but they usually come with a larger runtime overhead and are not as
+straightforward to use because they have to obey XML rules.
+Now the majority of users assumed they were using XHTML though. The
+reasons for that is that they sticked an XHTML doctype on top of the
+document and self-closed all necessary tags (``<br>`` becomes ``<br/>`` or
+``<br></br>`` in XHTML). However even if the document properly validates
+as XHTML there are still other things to keep in mind.
+XHTML also changes the way you work with JavaScript because you now have
+to use the namespaced DOM interface with the XHTML namespace to query for
+HTML elements.
+History of HTML5
+HTML5 was started in 2004 under the name Web Applications 1.0 by the
+WHATWG (Apple, Mozilla, Opera) and the idea was to write a new and
+improved specification of HTML based on actual browser behaviour instead
+of behaviour that exists on the paper but could not be implemented
+because of backwards compatibility with the already existing web.
+For example in theory HTML4 ``<title/Hello/`` means exactly the same as
+``<title>Hello</title>`` but because existing websites are using
+pseudo-XHTML which uses the Slash in different ways, this could not be
+implemented properly.
+In 2007 the specification was adopted as the basis of a new HTML
+specification under the umbrella of the W3C. Currently it looks like
+XHTML is losing traction, the XHTML 2 working group was disbanded and
+HTML5 is being implemented by all major browser vendors.
+HTML versus XHTML
+The following table gives you a quick overview of features available in
+HTML 4.01, XHTML 1.1 and HTML5 (we are not looking at XHTML 1.0 here which
+was superceeded by XHTML 1.1 or XHTML5 which is barely supported currently):
+| | HTML4.01 | XHTML1.1 | HTML5 |
+| ``<tag/value/`` == ``<tag>value</tag>`` | |Y| [1]_ | |N| | |N| |
+| ``<br/>`` supported | |N| | |Y| | |Y| [2]_ |
+| ``<script/>`` supported | |N| | |Y| | |N| |
+| might be served as `text/html` | |Y| | |N| [3]_ | |Y| |
+| might be served as | |N| | |Y| | |N| |
+| `application/xml+html` | | | |
+| strict error handling | |N| | |Y| | |N| |
+| inline SVG | |N| | |Y| | |Y| |
+| inline MathML | |N| | |Y| | |Y| |
+| ``<video>`` tag | |N| | |N| | |Y| |
+| ``<audio>`` tag | |N| | |N| | |Y| |
+| New semantical tags like ``<article>`` | |N| | |N| | |Y| |
+.. [1] Obscure feature inherited from SGML not supported by browsers
+.. [2] For compatibility with XHTML generating server code for some
+ tags such as ``<br>``. Should not be used.
+.. [3] XHTML 1.0 is the last XHTML standard that allows to be served
+ as `text/html` for backwards compatibility reasons.
+.. |Y| image:: _static/yes.png
+ :alt: Yes
+.. |N| image:: _static/no.png
+ :alt: No
+What does Strict Mean?
+HTML5 has strictly defined parsing rules, but it also specifies how a
+browser should react to parsing errors. Some things people stumble upon
+with HTML5 and older HTML standards is that browsers will accept some
+things that still create the expected output even though it looks wrong
+(eg: certain tags are missing or are not closed).
+Some of that is caused by the error handling browsers use if they
+encounter a markup error, others are actually specified. The following
+things are optional in HTML5 by standard and have to be supported by
+browsers (and are supported):
+- ``<html>``, ``<head>`` or ``<body>``
+- The closing tags for ``<p>``, ``<li>``, ``<dl>``, ``<dd>``, ``<tr>``,
+ ``<td>``, ``<th>``, ``<tbody>``, ``<thead>``, ``<tfoot>``.
+- quotes for attribtues if they contain no whitespace and some
+ special chars that require quoting.
+This means the following piece of HTML5 is perfectly valid:
+.. sourcecode:: html
+ <!doctype html>
+ <title>Hello HTML5</title>
+ <div class=header>
+ <h1>Hello HTML5</h1>
+ <p class=tagline>HTML5 is awesome
+ </div>
+ <ul class=nav>
+ <li><a href=/index>Index</a>
+ <li><a href=/downloads>Downloads</a>
+ <li><a href=/about>About</a>
+ </ul>
+ <div class=body>
+ <h2>HTML5 is probably the future</h2>
+ <p>
+ There might be some other things around but in terms of
+ browser vendor support, HTML5 is hard to beat.
+ <dl>
+ <dt>Key 1
+ <dd>Value 1
+ <dt>Key 2
+ <dd>Value 2
+ </dl>
+ </div>
+What should be used?
+Currently the answer is HTML5. There are very few reasons to use XHTML
+with the latest development. There are some companies successfully using
+actual XML and XSLT on the client side with fallbacks to server side HTML4
+generation for browsers not supporting XML and XSLT but but it's not very
+common. Now that MathML and SVG landed in HTML5 and with the sad support
+for XHTML in Internet Explorer and many JavaScript libraries for most
+applications no reasons remain to use XHTML.

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