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XHTML 1.0 coming soon to a next-generation web site near you.

With the introduction of XHTML 1.0, web masters now have the tools to ensure that their web sites will have the greatest audience possible today and tomorrow.

Until now, the main concern of web masters has been to ensure that web pages could be viewed in different versions of popular web browsers such as Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator. Since the majority of web surfers access the web using personal computers and laptops, the focus on browser compliance ensures that a web site can be viewed by the greatest number of web surfers.

But this is no longer enough as a wide range of browser platforms are rapidly emerging. In the near future, people will access the web using a variety of devices such as wireless phones, televisions, pagers, automobiles, and even appliances. The challenge is that most browsers on these devices will be XML-based. This simply means that unless web pages are created following XML standards they will not be accessible by a growing audience of web surfers.

The answer: XHTML 1.0. Smart web masters are already preparing their web pages so that they will get the best of both worlds (XML and HTML compliance). And they use XHTML to do it.


XHTML, an overview
XHTML (or eXtensible Hypertext Markup Language) is the major change to HTML since the introduction of version 4.0 in 1997. In effect, it reformulates HTML as an XML application. Hence, it can be viewed in HTML browsers as well as XML-based systems. The result: your web pages are accessible by almost anyone regardless of the browser device utilized to access the Web.

The best part is that XHTML is easy to implement. Web developers can download HTML Tidy, a free utility that converts HTML documents into XHTML 1.0 pages. Plus, HTML tidy will also correct any HTML mistakes it encounters. HTML Tidy is available for MAC OS, Windows 9x, DOS, UNIXWARE, and AMIGA.

Reviewing XHTML 1.0 in details in beyond the scope of this article. For more information, web developers should read Introduction to XHTML, with eXamples.

What does XHTML look like?
To view the differences between HTML and XHTML documents, you need to analyze their source. XHTML documents are easy to identify because they start with the following line of code (or similar to):
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN">. Other differences include mandatory tags, document type definitions, and attributes. XHTML 1.0 brings the rigor of XML to HTML documents; hence the source of web pages must be error-free to be interpreted correctly. This means that HTML browsers will be less likely to interpret the source differently, maximizing the chances that web pages will appear the same across browsers and platforms (Another great advantage of using XHTML).


For many expert web developers,XML is the future of the Web. XHTML represents the easiest way to transition to this universal web document format while offering the best of both of worlds.


Useful addresses
The World Wide Web Consortium: www.W3C.org





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