Skip to the Main Content

Note:These pages make extensive use of the latest XHTML and CSS Standards. They ought to look great in any standards-compliant modern browser. Unfortunately, they will probably look horrible in older browsers, like Netscape 4.x and IE 4.x. Moreover, many posts use MathML, which is, currently only supported in Mozilla. My best suggestion (and you will thank me when surfing an ever-increasing number of sites on the web which have been crafted to use the new standards) is to upgrade to the latest version of your browser. If that's not possible, consider moving to the Standards-compliant and open-source Mozilla browser.

August 22, 2003

The March of Technology

Back when Evan Goer did his XHTML 100 survey, it was depressingly clear that sites which did XHTML correctly were not exactly thick on the ground.

But now, four months later, there are some rays of hope.

  • Evan’s list of X-Philes grows longer by the day.
  • Some top-drawer geek weblogs are planning to convert to application/xhtml+xml.
  • And some far-sighted individuals are talking about comment validation, etc.

Now, as you know, we here at Musings pride ourselves on having the world’s most technologically-advanced weblog. With all these rumblings of progress, we can’t exactly sit still, can we? So what to do?

Kick it up a notch!

Go to the previous post and hit the “Text Zoom” button in your browser. The equations rescale nicely along with the text. But you knew that already: it’s because we’re using MathML (converted automatically from LaTeX source) rather than crufty little GIF images for the equations.

But notice the figures. They rescale too. Whoa! That’s because Musings is now SVG-enabled. If you have Adobe’s plugin or a natively SVG-capable browser, you should be getting all the modern goodness. If not, you should get an old-skool GIF image instead. I haven’t tested this on a wide variety of browsers, but in my limited testing (with the Adobe plugin) it seems to work well.

Update (8/23/2003): Just to be clear (since this was the subject of some confusion), we’re not sticking SVG inline. Rather, we’re including it via the <object> tag. This makes it accessible to Adobe’s plugin and allows for graceful fallback (in this case, to a GIF image) for those whose browsers can’t handle SVG. The world just isn’t ready for inline SVG. Yet…

Update (9/3/2003): OK, my secrets are revealed here. Enjoy!

Posted by distler at August 22, 2003 8:58 AM

TrackBack URL for this Entry:

11 Comments & 0 Trackbacks

Re: The March of Technology

You should e-mail Evan Goer, so he can update what you are using. This must be the most technologically advanced website ever. And the W3C might be interested too, ‘cause this is maybe the first implementation of their working draft.

This morning you tried to have your own doctype (I knew, ‘cause Mozilla crashed), ‘cause you want target back? Why?

Posted by: Anne van Kesteren on August 22, 2003 9:39 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: The March of Technology

Several reasons. Here’s one: go to a MathML-enabled post (like the previous one) and click on the MathML icon. Up pops a little informational window. Now click on one of the links therein. Whoops! I suppose I could use Javascript instead (after all, that’s what I used to pop up the informational window in the first place), but it is stupid to use Javascript when there is a perfectly viable XHTML solution for the same thing.

I’ve had the target attribute on this blog all along (built into the XHTML 1.1+MathML 2.0 Doctype). And that custom Doctype worked fine with pages which did not have any actual SVG on them.

But with actual SVG, the custom Doctype kicks Mozilla into a pure XML (as opposed to XHTML) mode, with deleterious results.

Posted by: Jacques Distler on August 22, 2003 9:51 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: The March of Technology

I’m way ahead of you, Anne. :)

Posted by: Evan on August 22, 2003 10:30 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Baby Steps

As an update of sorts, I’m slowly inching forward in my own quest for X-Philology. The current goal is valid, site-wide XHTML 1.0 Strict for a few weeks before I think of plunging into 1.1.

The main stumbling block is SmartyPants, of course - those copying and pasting my smart quotes into their comments break my validator. I’m under the impression that Brad Choate’s RegEx plugin - - is my way out, but for one who hadn’t even heard of regular expressions until a few weeks ago, I’ve got some reading to do first.

Baby steps. I’ll get there.

(as a side note that highlights the continued problems with the process: this is my third time re-typing and attempting to post thanks to a) MTValidate, and b) Firebird’s insidious form completion bug with XHTML 1.1)

(as a side note to the side note, I suggest putting a note above the subject field notifying potential commenters that it cannot be left blank)

Posted by: Dave S. on August 22, 2003 12:36 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Baby Steps

No, a warning is not required.

It was a damned #&%$ bug (in lib/MT/App/

I think it’s fixed now. Sheesh! No rest for the weary …

Posted by: Jacques Distler on August 22, 2003 10:09 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Beastly slow

Oh, and adding comments seems to be excruciatingly slow today. It seems to be related to Sendmail acting wonky. Let’s see if a reboot fixed it…

Posted by: Jacques Distler on August 22, 2003 10:31 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Beastly slow

Nope. That had nothing to do with it., one of the RBL services that I use to filter incoming email, is down. All Sendmail processes were slow as molasses (waiting for a DNS lookup at osirusoft to time out) until I disabled that RBL service.


Posted by: Jacques Distler on August 22, 2003 10:46 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Embedded SVG

I’m not completely sure about this (see it as a question), but on a XHTML 1.1 page without additional doctypes I could also embed a SVG with the object element.

Isn’t the additional doctype for SVG 1.1 meant for embedding XML into your source, just like you do with MathML?

Posted by: Anne van Kesteren on August 23, 2003 5:51 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Embedded SVG

Hmmm…. By George, you may be right.

What I thought I was doing was embedding an SVG fragment in my web page, and hence needed to describe that in my DOCTYPE declaration. But, no, what the <object> tag is doing is embedding a complete SVG document complete with its own DOCTYPE declaration.

I can go back to my old DOCTYPE … complete with the target attribute. Yay!

Posted by: Jacques Distler on August 23, 2003 9:52 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Back to the Future


All my pages are back to the XHTML 1.1 + MathML 2.0 DOCTYPE. I guess Evan will have to revise his X-Philes entry.

Sorry 'bout that.

Am I to understand that my attempt at graceful degradation of content (nesting a GIF <img> inside the SVG <object>) is a graceless failure in IE/Win ?

“IE/Win, the NN4 of a new generation …”

Posted by: Jacques Distler on August 23, 2003 10:24 AM | Permalink | Reply to this


If someone could just make up their mind, I’d have a lot less work to do.

Posted by: Evan on August 24, 2003 1:51 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Post a New Comment