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Thread: Adding new elements to XHTML 1.1

  1. #1
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    Adding new elements to XHTML 1.1

    How can I add some other elements/modules to an XHTML 1.1 document? I was just thinking that maybe I could use an element like <comment> for use in code samples, and have them all green (via a stylesheet). I am correct in thinking you can add your own elements to XHTML 1.1 documents aren't I?

    I don't really need the DTD code itself, just want to know how to import it into a document.

  2. #2
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    Yes you can add extra modules; look at the namespaces relating to the DTD's.

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    Do I have to add xmlns to blocks that refer to different elements? Like <comment xmlns="http://www.rickbull.co.uk/dtd/">

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    I've never tried creating just adding in XHTML like with Mozquito XForms you'll have to tell me how it goes, but I don't know how beneficial it will be since pure XML and XSLT are the normal ways developers used to create elements. I've never seen it done in XHTML 1.1 even though it would be possible.

    Happy New Year Rick, I'll see you next year if I don't get blocked from visiting forums. Look at W3C Modules section.

  5. #5
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    OK thanks Rob, happy new year too.

  6. #6
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    But if you go about adding your own elements then you are no longer using XHTML 1.1 ... and you blow any chance of your document being accessible. HTML 4.01 Strict, XHTML 1.0 Strict and XHTML 1.1 are all accessible because each of the various elements has an agreed upon logical meaning. We all know that the content of the EM element is emphasized. You might assign some sort of presentation meaning to your element by using CSS, but you end up with nothing other than presentation mark up.

    But this doesn't mean that you cannot make up your own elements. I, myself, am rather fond of using the following element that I made up:

    <!ELEMENT date EMPTY>
    <!ATTLIST date year CDATA #REQUIRED
    &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;month CDATA #REQUIRED
    &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;day CDATA #REQUIRED>

    That way we can decide later how we want our dates formatted. It has some other uses too. The trick is that we have to give our new mark up language a new name. And we import the XHTML 1.1 modules into the DTD for our new mark-up language. For good measure we can make any number of useful entities. In some of my documents of a more technical nature, I employ some standard acronyms for the formal names for some plants. That's a lot of typing if you follow the accessibility guidelines. id est:

    <!ENTITY PS '<acronym xml:lang="la" title="Pinus strobus">PS</acronym> (White Pine)'>

    &amp;PS; is a great deal easier to type than <acronym xml:lang="la" title="Pinus strobus">PS</acronym> (White Pine). But then we have to transform our markup into something that has meaning for the rest of the world, so we use XML stylesheet language transformations (XSLT) to produce the HTML 4.01 Strict, or so, document. In the future we'll be able to post our special mark up and stylesheets on the web and browsers will know how to put them together (MSIE already does) but for now we have to use XSLT processors like Xalan. As an aside, once you are at this point it's not to great a leap to make a second XSLT stylesheet to transform your mark up into Formatting Objects and use FOP to generate a PDF version. (See http://xml.apache.org/ for Xalan and FOP.)
    “The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.”
    —Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the World Wide Web

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the info Charles. I'll just leave it for now, and perhaps read up on XML and XSLT soon.

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