3.3.1. The user's perspective

What's the difference between HTML and XHTML from the user's point of view? Even if a web author uses the same elements and attributes it makes a difference if a web page is a valid HTML or XHTML document. Some web browsers don't ignore the XML declaration of an XHTML page even if they don't support XHTML. They display the XML declaration, i.e.

<?xml version="1.0"?>

or

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1"?>

for instance, at the top of the web page. It doesn't look very nice (see below).

Figure 3.1. Screen shot of the Netscape 1.1 with an XHTML Basic web page

Figure 3.2. Screen shot of the Internet Explorer for Pocket PC running on a Desktop Pocket PC Emulation with an XHTML Basic web page

We don't know if many old web browsers behave like the Netscape 1.1 dated 1995 a long time before XHTML has been specified. However, the Microsoft Internet Explorer for Pocket PC also displays the XML declaration even if it incorporates an XML parser and XSLT processor. Its support for HTML is limited to HTML 3.2 with some exceptions.

If we assume that there are some more browsers with this disability then you need to decide if you ignore this web site's "poor web design" or if you will never revisit this web site.

Copyright © 2001-2003 by Rainer Hillebrand and Thomas Wierlemann