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html differences

Hi There,
What are the differences between html 3.2 and 4?  I have seen several ads refer to a specific level of html knowledge.

Thanks,
davlun
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davlun20080
Asked:
davlun20080
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1 Solution
 
AssenCommented:
did you looked at www.w3.org 
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nettromCommented:
in the HTML 4 spec there's an introduction, and it lists some of the larger changes between HTML 3.2 and 4.0.

http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/intro/intro.html#h-2.3
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davlun20080Author Commented:
I was hoping to get some key differences listed out so I could get a better feel for the differences when actually implemented on a page.

From my past experience coding (read hacking) I have found that most of the browsers are fairly forgiving of what I have heard term 'presentation html'.

When coding, what are the big mistakes people make that keep them from hitting the standard.

thanks,
davlun
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nettromCommented:
key differences:

1: a revised table model.
2: CSS is cool, presentational HTML is not.  as a consequence, DIV & SPAN are commonly used elements.
3: frames is allowed using the frameset DTD.

browsers may or may not be very forgiving when it comes to presentational HTML.  the current situation is that there's a lot of browsers support various presentational HTML elements, so if you want to get a nice layout for most people you'll have to resort to using that.  if you code fairly strictly, and try to keep a good structure in your document it'll work even with presentational HTML.  but you're not really guaranteed how it'll work.

the important thing in HTML is that the language is now trying to separate presentation and content, moving the prior to CSS.  therefore, all elements & attributes that define layout are deprecated.  the reason for this is that CSS is written specifically to do layout, while HTML isn't.  one of the known problems with presentational HTML is that the browser may not support everything you're relying on, and the content may be unreadable as a result.

if you want to write validating HTML 4.01 try to remember the following:

1: there's a huge difference between the transitional and the strict DTDs.  as long as you're unexperienced with hard core HTML, use the transitional DTD.  it allows more relaxed coding.

2: remember to use a DOCTYPE, without that the validator won't know what to validate against, and the validation will of course fail.

3: you must know the difference between inline and block level elements.  most inline elements cannot contain block level elements, while the other way around works well.  some block level elements may also contain other block level elements.

4: have the HTML 4.01 recommendation nearby when you work in case you're unsure about how things work.  reading the whole recommendation isn't such a bad idea as it sounds.

I think that's about enough for a while. :)
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cheekycjCommented:
Interesting question.

for reference changes from 3.2 to 4.0;
http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/appendix/changes.html

But getting nitty gritty...
you have numerous of validators out there that (at www.w3.org) to validate the HTML code you have but what most people (developers) tend to forget that the standards are ahead of the browsers.  HTML 4.0 is not supported entirely by either browser.  So when you design and use that good old hover option in IE and don't realize it doesn't work for NN. you are not developing good code.

You want to use Style Sheets to format the look and feel of your site and take a look at what is supported vs what isn't: http://www.webreview.com/wr/pub/guides/style/mastergrid.html

I design right now for HTML 4 because my company has standardized its intranet browsers so I don't have to worry about developing for both browsers.

But the key is to remember that HTML 4.0 is going to be replaced with XHTML and that is why the current design of my intranet, I am making it a requirement for all my developers to code using well-formed HTML (whether it be 3.2 or 4.0) so we can easily transition into XHTML.

HTML 4.0 is nice but most browsers are only fully compatible with HTML 3.2 so when you develop an internet site you must take that into account.
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davlun20080Author Commented:
You see just when I thought I knew something... I know what the inline and block elements are, presentational html I was figuring was the <font><b>, perhaps a position div something like that.  Am I right? or is presentational something different? and what is XHTML?

All these questions,
davlun

off to read the links above....
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cheekycjCommented:
for xhtml info:
http://webreview.com/wr/pub/1999/07/16/feature/
http://www.stars.com/Authoring/Languages/XML/XHTML/
http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/

I am not exactly sure what is meant by the term "presentation HTML" but your basic formating tags include table, div, span, p, strong, i, etc.

Font- is being deprecated. So its not wise to use it.  Do all your formatting and fonts (color,size,type,etc) using style sheets.

CJ

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davlun20080Author Commented:
So is it ok to use div, span, table to arrange page or must it all be done using css.  I typically use these commands in conjuction with a style command to control their positiona and layout on the page.  If it is something I will use several place, I make it a class definition in the tag, otherwise I use the style="" in the command for one time usage.

Is this ok,
David
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cheekycjCommented:
css should be used for look and feel... How does the table look and how does the text look and what size the font is, etc.  The actual placement/arrangement should be in your HTML.

your css will define classes but then you will use the <div class="intro"> intro formatted text</div> to apply the style.

I like to define everything in my style sheet, whether I use it once or many times...this gives me a central repository rather than editing pages, I just edit the sheet.

CJ
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davlun20080Author Commented:
Again, thanks for the info.  I have been doing just that kind of thing, except I have been using the style="" for single uses.  Maybe I knew more than I thought I did.....without even knowing it.

davlun
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cheekycjCommented:
glad to help (again)

Good luck in your work,
CJ
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davlun20080Author Commented:
Thanks, I am going to need it.  
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