Zeldman gone mad?

An excerpt from Forward Compatibility: Designing & Building With Standards by Jeffrey Zeldman seems most odd, and I’m wondering if Zeldman has gone bonkers. (or if it really is Eric Meyer in disguise and he’s finally cracking up under the strain of multiple personalities.)

There are a number of things I find odd, the most being the first thing he lists as a strength of CSS/XHTML/DOM namely:

At last attain precise control over layout, placement, and typography in graphical desktop browsers.

Which doesn’t seem to acknowledge the fact that CSS etc. reduces the control developers have by explicitly encouraging user stylesheets, and different default stylesheets in browsers.

There’s also the odd definition of “backward compatibility”, that looks like a strawman to me, but it may just be the circles I move in, In any case I struggle to see how HTML 4.01 strict isn’t backwards compatible, it’s certainly more backwards compatible than XHTML…

Then we have: “Transition from HTML to XML …”, which again is odd, them being different things, and the slightly odd references to javascript, particularly missing the fact that we’ve had standard script implementations since IE4/NN4.

Hopefully the introduction is just taking all these things out of context and the book is useful, unfortunately I fear all too much that it will be advocating xhtml as text/html just like his own site does.

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