Arachnophilia 5 represents one of those departure points in the history of this program, points at which it is necessary to make a fresh start. Specifically, the changes in this version are so far-reaching — including a rewrite of most of the macro set and the documentation — that it is necessary to delete the Arachnophilia user directory to realize the full benefit of the changes.
To make this change, please read these instructions and then:
- Exit Arachnophilia
- Delete the directory (user home directory)/.Arachnophilia
- Re-run Arachnophilia
After taking these steps, the user will see a reinstallation of the Arachnophilia user files — that's a sign that the deletion was carried out successfully. By the way, this is the correct approach to dealing with problems that seem insurmountable — to overcome various problems that might come up, simply delete (user home directory)/.Arachnophilia and run Arachnophilia again.
Arachnophilia has become an XHTML workshop.
A new version of HTML has appeared, named "XHTML," that has so many advantages over HTML that Arachnophilia has been completely reworked to take advantage of it. Elsewhere in these directions, and in Arachnophilia's menus and prompts, the term HTML appears, but remember that this is simply a syntactical convenience — it refers to XHTML.
Earlier Arachnophilia difficulties with beautifying and formatting HTML, and analyzing Web pages for tag errors, have been corrected in this version. In past Arachnophilia versions, certain features had to be dropped because they couldn't coexist with the internal ambiguities and inconsistencies of straight HTML. In the new Arachnophilia version, the best of those features has been restored. Specifically, HTML Beautify now works reliably and HTML Validate — a tool for finding and correcting structural errors, a feature not seen since Arachnophilia 4.0 — is back and works very well.
XHTML is internally consistent in a way that HTML cannot be, and it greatly simplifies the task of Web page design and maintenance. Arachnophilia is now structured around XHTML and it can help you convert your pages from HTML to XHTML.
If your site has HMTL pages and you don't want to convert them, some of Arachnophilia's features aren't going to work for you, in particular the features "HTML Beautify" and "HTML Validate" will likely misbehave. If you do decide to upgrade to XHTML, I offer these comments:
- In XHTML, there are no tag ambiguituies. A particular tag always appears the same way, there is no latitude about how a tag can be used.
- All XHTML tags are either paired
, or they are single self-closing tags . There is but one exception (the DOCTYPE tag at the top of a page).
- Past versions of Arachnophilia contained some "relaxed" (read: wrong) tag definitions and practices, in particular the absence of closing
- and tags. These errors have been corrected.
- Contrary to what the reader may believe, due in part to the relaxed syntax of HTML and in part because of my errors in earlier versions of Arachnophilia, the "img" tag is self-closing: . So are , tags and about a dozen others. And some tags I believed to be orphans are actually supposed to have associated closing tags, for example
- and .
- To conclude this list, I want to restate the basic idea — all XHTML tags fall into two categories:
- Single, self-closing tags
- Paired tags
There is only one exception — the tag that appears at the beginning of each HTML or XHTML page is an oddball that fails to agree with the strict pattern.
Remember that this change is in place. If you use the new HTML Beautify or HTML validate and they don't work as you expect, it will be because of page tags that do not meet this strict XHTML syntax.