xhtml + CSS... #1

...internet standards...?


Ok, so it's the W3C recommendations I'm pointing at. Browser-support is pretty good on the basics, so something will usually come up on a screen.

xhtml, in its many versions, is recognized as standards we web carpenters may choose to follow. If that's our choice, then we may as well try to get it right.

If we get it just a little bit right, then we may say that we know how to write xhtml. If we get it a little bit better, then it may even work – sometimes.

We may also use online tools – the validating services – to help us fix things. Valid xhtml doesn't hurt when we go to the next step.

is it really xhtml…?

It would be nice if all who put XHTML doctypes on top of their documents knew what they were doing and why they were doing it. Sadly, that doesn't seem to be the case. Finding pages containing XHTML doctypes on the web is easy enough, but finding true xhtml is more of an exception.

Now, if people would stop putting doctypes on their pages in order to “fix” rendering in HTML-browsers, and start using doctypes that reflected the markup used, then maybe some of the garbage called XHTML might be replaced by something that is what they call it. Whether they call it HTML or XHTML – or leave out the doctype altogether, doesn't matter all that much – at least not to me. However, if there is a doctype, then it should at least be true for the document it relates to.

Question: Is this page real xhtml?
Answer: Yes, it is. It is built up, and tested, as a true xhtml document. However, it is served as an ordinary HTML document – for the time being, to make sure it'll also work in Internet Explorer and some other old browsers. As we all (should) know: Internet Explorer can't handle properly served xhtml.


Cascading Style Sheets are adding presentational flavor to any decent web page, although it may not always look like much. It's not those stylesheets fault if it doesn't look all that fantastic. It's probably a designer-flaw.

Reading about, and trying to sort out, all the different ways we can mess up a perfectly good web page, is like trying to memorize every name, address and phone-number in a medium-thick phone-book. Once learned we just have to learn how to use the information both forward and backward and full circle a couple of times without loosing track.

And then we have all the browser-flaws, which are there to make sure any would-be web designer don't run the risk of dying of old age. One good laugh after another, day in and day out, can be tough on even the strongest constitution. Just watch your latest attempts in Internet Explorer, and prepare for departure.

(no, there isn't an IE/win 3px jog bug in this section. It's just an imitation... )


I haven't had as much fun in a long, (extremely) long time, as when I started to play with xhtml and CSS on a large scale. My beard has grown several inches, and turned from black, to yellow, to white, in the process.
My hair?    What hair?

xhtml and CSS is an unbeatable combination. We can even get some ugly valid-buttons to make our poor and suffering web pages look even worse. And the best of all; we may display those buttons even if our web pages breaks apart in every browser on earth – as long as they have valid code...

I see no reason to use non-valid code, since I can make it look a lot worse across browser-land with perfectly valid code. Then I can bang my head against the keyboard and curse all browsers that won't display every little detail exactly as I planned.

What I planned? How should I know when it looks different in every browser on earth. Don't these browsers know how to render a valid web page? Ok then, I can of course give them a completely non-valid one...

Oh, well. That was “the frustrated web designer” after he had seen all his attempts be killed by every browser on earth. It's no fun, but it happens at times – regardless of how much experience we have.


The good thing is that we may also carve out sweet little floating web pages that may look quite nice (at times). They may also become quite stable across browserland, even if that's still quite a challenge in most cases.

Killing browser-bugs may become the chosen pass-time-activity of this decade. Each bug may last so long that we may even miss it once it's corrected. What shall we do once all those bugs are gone?

Well, we may look for ways to make xhtml work as intended in all browsers, and not just like another html file. Not to mention the full use of CSS in all its glory. May take a while for that to happen – thanks to “some” browser...

I strongly recommend the use of xhtml and CSS all over the place, and in every little corner on the web. I think I'll use them out on the pastures as well while I'm at it. We can never have too much of a good thing – can we?


Although I'm a firm believer in web standards, I see no value at all in the term "valid". Standards are tools — not laws.

Validators are extremely useful tools in my search to find flaws and "human bugs" in my own code. They are of no use to me for anything else, and I don't want any valid-buttons. I just want a well-working solution so I can present something like the above.

sincerely  georg; sign

Hageland 01.nov.2004
last rev: 04.apr.2006

xhtml + CSS...

I'm lost for words...
This ugly color must be a designer-flaw.


  • introduction
  • Table of Content


  • this is PTL web-design
  • CSS sledgehammer
  • accessibility
  • Print enhanced page
  • Projection enhanced
  • Small Screen enhanced page
  • validity of xhtml and CSS
  • more xhtml & CSS
  • html tidy
  • Opera and me
  • Firefox vs. IE
the usual
  • the author
  • Copyright
the unusual
  • Molly speaks up
the additional
  • Examples
  • Demo pages


I just killed a browser-bug...

Offsite resources:

note: I can't guarantee the quality of any offsite resources.

Dear web design experts:

Validity isn't important, but performance is.
Valid web pages perform better across browserland.

...make it work...

Discussion forums:

These forums are open for anyone who have questions and/or answers concerning xhtml and/or CSS.
Become a member and give and receive support.
Make notes, and become a better web designer.
Make more notes, and become an even better one...

Once you have come to love these forums—read these:

Yeah, make some notes on those too...

…2005 - 2006