Evolution of XHTML

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Need of XHTML
XHTML became a W3C recommendation in 2000, and within the next five years we did see many websites framed in XHTML standard.

Prior to XHTML, HTML was the successfully running coding standard on the web, and shared wide popularity. But the amazing thing however is that even after the release of XHTML as the new recommended markup language, HTML did not cease to evolute. Neither did the websites which were framed in HTML stopped to function.

HTML uses XSL to transform it into XML and that too only when HTML is also a well formed XML. Whereas in XHTML, direct transformation with XML can take place.

XHTML was a recommendation of W3C, but it did not condemn the earlier language. Webmasters were also reluctant to use XHTML any soon, given the complexity it involved and the skepticism that comes with everything that’s new. Few webmasters also believed that XHTML would slow down the browser’s speed. To a casual Internet user, an application seems fine as long as it is visually satisfying and user friendly. The HTML websites were running successfully and web designers found it irrelevant to switch to any new method.

Yet the advanced technologies hammered the need of XHTML, and this pushed the designers to leave their doubts and accept XHTML as a comfortable mark-up language. XHTML on the better side, is not entirely different from HTML. They aren’t two different languages altogether. They can be said as two different dialects of the same language.

Benefits of XHTML
They say, “Necessity is the mother of all inventions”. The need for XHTML did not show up when HTML was used successfully by web designers, because that era was not marked by the advanced technologies. Coding was desktop complaint but did not consider the compatibility with 3G Phones. Neither did it apprehend the fast arrival of different web browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla and others.

Also, the cascading style sheet is capable of controlling all the aspects of page presentation and layout. This saves a lot of precious time of the coder and also helps to cut down the amount of code needed to display a web page properly. So in this context, XHTML offers a dual benefit. And as all major browsers support the Cascading Style Sheets, they can be used without any hitch.

HTML doesn’t bother about proper nesting of the tags, whereas XHTML considers proper nesting of tags which makes it syntax error free.

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Andrew Johnson

Andrew Johnson is founder of BestPSDtoHTML. He loves creative designs, photography, paintings and everything about innovation. As an Internet entrepreneur, he constantly tries to develop new ways to bring content faster and closer to the end users in a more streamlined way. His main focus lies in inspiring all the designers and developers with all new ideas through his blogs.

15 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Hi, interesting post. I have been wondering about this topic,so thanks for writing. I’ll definitely be coming back to your blog.

  • well, a good programer doesn’t have to worry about ie.
    except of using transparent png’s i only need one css file for a fully cross browser compatible website..

    it depends on your experience and knowledge. clean code generates no troubles in any browser.

  • @Ankit Bhatia
    Give me a break… IE even IE 8 isn’t compatible with xHTML nor CSS. Maybe your knowledge is based on Microsoft’s marketing mumble? In real world IE is a nightmare of web designers.

  • @ Rob It isn’t that all “IE browsers are holding back the web”. I agree that browsers former to IE6 are not compatible with XHTML, but with the change of technology, Microsoft has introduced new versions of IE browsers which are fully compatible and semantic with XHTML and CSS.

    Also just to update you, the earlier versions of Mozilla were not compatible with XHTML code. As we are living in a dynamic IT environment, almost every minute there is an update and we have to move with the changing technologies.

  • There’s no real benefit of XHTML. The main reason is IE(even version 8) will not serve XHTML as true XML. Given the market share, not a lot of sites actually use the true content type XHTML was designed for.

    As far as writing semantic code goes, you can do the same in HTML.

  • XHTML offers no appreciable value over strict, valid and clean HTML. I asked PPK at a web conference if XHTML offered any scripting advantage over HTML, he said it did not. Can’t serve XHTML as XML because of the IEs so it’s served as “text/html” anyway. So why bother? Just to have those XML-ish little slashes at the end of my IMG, INPUT and META tags?

  • @Tom says:

    Cease to ‘evolute’?! ‘evolve’, perhaps?

    What’s wrong with ‘Evolute’? It means unroll or unfold. I guess it’s a writer’s liberty.

  • You can use the ‘div’ element in HTML also.

    Also, the ‘div’ element itself has almost no semantic meaning whatsoever, and is usually used solely as a hook for CSS-based layout and presentation.

    You can also write good clean semantic HTML, styled with CSS without any trouble at all.

    The real benefit of XHTML is that it is (supposed to be) valid XML markup, where HTML is not. This means that content maked up in XHTML is much more easily parsed by browsers, search engines, and any other non-human reader.

    It really doesn’t have anything to do with compatibility between desktop and laptop computers, etc.

    So to be clear, all the benefits of XHTML you describe here are equally valid for clean, semantic HTML and CSS.

  • Um. was around before XHTML ever was. Also, one reason XHTML is held back because no version of Internet Explorer can handle XHTML properly served as XHTML. Internet Explorer is what holds back the web, not any problems with what a developer thinks.

  • – The div element is also allowed and used in HTML.
    – The div element gives zero semantic to the code. In fact it is only used to group elements and has no special meaning at all.

    You are talking about the advantages of clean code and not about the benefits of XHTML over HTML.


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