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Redesigning site, need a little help.

 8:36 pm on Aug 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hi Everyone,

I am in the process of turning over my psd files to a html markup service that promises really great prices and fast turn around times. I know very little if anything of html and there are some questions the service is asking me that I don't know how to answer. Here they are and I was hoping someone here could offer some advice.

What is better?
HTML 1.0 Transitional
XHTML 1.0 Strict
HTML 4.01 Transitional
HTML 4.01 Strict

CSS Level 2.1
CSS Level 3
CSS Level 1
CSS Level 2

Thanks in advance!



 8:41 pm on Aug 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

At this stage, maybe HTML 5 is the way to go. I'd generally not bother with XHTML.

CSS? At least 2, but are you actually using any of the features that later versions introduce?


 9:08 pm on Aug 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Who is your target audience? What types of user agent (computer or mobile device) are they likely to be using? What type of connection are they likely to be on?

CSS is generally cumulative. That is, if it's in CSS1 it will probably be in newer versions. HTML4 vs XHTML and HTML4 vs HTML5 isn't.

"Strict" is silly. It just leads to double the verbiage as you have to say <blahblah style = "attribute: moreblahblah"> instead of <blahblah attribute = "moreblahblah"> when you hit something that can't go in the CSS or that only occurs once.


 4:05 am on Aug 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

As I understand it HTML5 is completely backwards compatible, as long as the pages are rendering in standards mode rather than quirks mode. That's all browser use the DTD for anyway - knowing what rendering mode to trigger.

So you can take that nice, simple HTML5 DTD and switch it out on a very old page and all will be well.


 4:26 pm on Aug 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the replies. I sell custom draperies so my typical user can vary in terms of the technology they are using to access my site (home desktop by most, ipads for some designers, etc;). This is what is at the top of my main competitors index page:

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/loose.dtd">

I can't tell what type of CSS they are using but they are coming up at #1 for most search terms while I'm hovering around five....

I just want to make sure my new site is coded the best way possible. Thanks again!


 9:16 pm on Aug 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

4.01 Transitional is always safe. If you are curious about the CSS you can feed any url into the mobile version [validator.w3.org] of the html validator. They'll scream about any feature that wasn't in CSS1. Take it with a grain of salt though: an iPad for example can probably take everything you throw at it.

The validator doesn't ask if you own a site. Counting errors in the competition's pages is a time-honored form of innocent amusement.


 5:13 pm on Aug 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

I use 4.01 transitional all the time, it's fine. Biggest reason?

I must have my pages validate, it's a personal benchmark (and assures cross browser compatibility.) Site owners generally have a "visitor loss" paranoia. "Open everything in a new window, so they stay on my site." What they don't get is, if there's a bunch of new windows/tabs open, your site is lost anyway.

Before HTML5, there was no "good method" of opening new windows in XHTML; target is deprecated in XHTML for anything but framesets - won't validate. In html 4 (even strict) it does.

The "right" way to do new windows in XHTML is with scripting, but then it becomes Javascript dependent, hence, "no good way."

There are many similar quirks to XHTML that can easily be valid in HTML 4.

Besides, if you're outputting HTML, declare the document for what it is.

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