XML Client detection

rev-bob at gotc.com rev-bob at gotc.com
Wed Nov 3 01:55:44 GMT 1999

> Since your output choices are currently limited to HTML and XHTML, I'd
> be sorely tempted to just default to XHTML, and give folk an option to
> go to HTML output if that breaks.
> The reason is that most reasonably well crafted XHTML will be accepted by
> both HTML and XML aware browsers, with the primary known exception being
> very old browsers ("version 2") that you may not support anyway.

The trouble with that is, I kind of make a crusade out of accessibility.  Just about 
anybody can access my HTML, because I've taken care to include several legacy 
support tricks (such as a SCRIPT element inside a NOSCRIPT element, which is 
specifically designed to work around the fact that NN2 doesn't know what NOSCRIPT 
means) which are spec-illegal yet necessary for old-client support.

With the XHTML pages, I'm trying to get away from that.  Since old browsers don't 
understand XML, I can drop a lot of the antiquated hacks and make the XHTML code a 
bit cleaner.  Hence, the need for a client sniffer - send the older browsers to the HTML 
code which makes allowances for them, and shamelessly take advantage of the XML-
compliant browsers' features.
> You only really need XML support in the client if you're trying to use
> the XML/CSS (or eventually XML/XSLT) style rendering.  Since I couldn't
> use IE5 support for that (no list or link support, or preformatted text),
> and Mozilla's not prime-time yet, I'd not bother with that approach for
> some time to come.

Look at it this way.  If I get the sniffer working, I can do things like morph FONT FACE 
tags into CSS styles for the XHTML version, thus ultimately bringing the XHTML 
version several steps closer to the ideal of divorcing content from presentation.  That's 
my goal; I'm not looking for XML support because I need it, but because excluding 
browsers without it will let me get closer to "pure code" in those pages.

 Rev. Robert L. Hood  | http://rev-bob.gotc.com/
  Get Off The Cross!  | http://www.gotc.com/

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