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Mime Type Fun Revisited

This post has been archived. It's probably out of date or shameful in some other way.

On November 3rd, I posted Mime Type Fun, a quick note explaining that I was now serving this site, written in XHTML 1.1, with the correct "application/xhtml+xml" mime type.

It was a useful exercise. Apart from anything else, it gave me a good opportunity to clean up much of the code on the site. However, it also highlighted problems with XHTML 1.1 and the "application/xhtml+xml" mime type, that are the reason I have now switched back to plain ol' HTML.

Now, don't get me wrong. I heartily support XHTML and believe it is the future of web design. However, right now, it just isn't nearly ready for primetime.

I did consider moving back to XHTML 1.0 or 1.1, but serving it with the "text/html" mime type. However I do believe that if you are going to bother writing a site in XHTML, you should at least serve it correctly to those user agents that can understand it.

If this site was completely static, without the LiveSearch, AdSense or the other small pieces of JavaScript dotted around the place, things may be different. As a tool for marking up static pages, XHTML works well, even with content negotiation techiques. But for anything involving interactivity, I don't believe it's going to be worth the time and effort required to change until the majority of users can experience the benefits.

Once enough users can receive XHTML properly, this site will be changing straight back over. The lessons learned from this experience will be invaluable. Until then, it's back to HTML - which at least means the LiveSearch (on the right) is working again.