Posted March 26th, 2005 by Mike Cherim

XHTML 1.0, or Extensible Hypertext Mark-up Language, is a reformulation of HTML (Hypertext Mark-up Language) as an XML 1.0 (Extensible Mark-up Language) application. It is presently a working draft. The final will be XHTML 1.1. XML is an extremely simple dialect of SGML or Standard Generalized Markup Language. The goal is to enable generic SGML to be served, received, and processed on the Web in the way that is now possible with HTML. XML has been designed for ease of implementation and for interoperability with both SGML and HTML.

Whew. That didn’t come from me. That came from the W3C Organization. Do you understand what it’s saying, though? It’s good for developers and users alike. Once fully implemented that is. Developers will have an even easier way to make pages and send the content, and users will be almost guaranteed of a fully functional site when visiting. The pages at are written to the XHTML 1.0 Strict specification. They really shouldn’t be, though, not yet. But it is allowable and it works — as in still delivering the content. But it is just slightly less efficient. It’s negligible. Even though some, like Ian Hickson, for example, will argue that Sending XHTML as text/html [is] Considered Harmful. I would add that it may not be necessary for most people to do it. Some people do it and have no reason to do so but do it because they are blissfully unaware. The harm really results from those developers, if they are creating invalid XHTML documents that is. Validation is the key to staying out of trouble.

I write XHTML, as I did here on this web log, as explained in this Beast Blog article aptly-named "Document Types." I also wrote in XHTML, as mentioned above, and I am sending it as text/html as well, but that site is a conversion in the works. I’m only part way there. The most valid reason I have to justify sending those web documents as text/html instead of as application/xhtml+xml is the fact that that site is still in the works. I still need to create proper XML documents (which are really simple things actually), then I’ll be ready to make the rest of the changes over there, and I’ll be good to go.

There’s only two things holding me back, in fact. One is that there is a huge lack of browser support for XML at this time (though that’ll change in the coming years) so sending it off as XML now would be sort of foolish as I’d make an alternate, fully HTML version to ensure accessibility. The other reason is that I’m not quite there. I don’t quite have a handle on it all. I’m still learning. That might seem like an embarrassing thing to admit, but it’s not. Anyway, I’m not alone in this. Look on the internet for XHTML Websites. Then View»Source on Internet Explorer® or check your Firefox® Tools»Page Info and see how many are served as XML. Hardly any. I can think of four or five right off the top of my head (and they’re not that accessible to a rather large segment of people).

I’ll get there, though. I’ve come this far so I guess I’ll go the rest of the way. But, hey, in the meantime I hear it looks good on a resume! (Just kidding.) If you would like more information about this, then please check out this W3C XHTML Media Type Information page.

So, in summary, what you are looking at at this moment or when you visit is actually plain old HTML with some extra characters thrown in — for now. That’s what your browser is seeing anyway. What you’re really seeing, at least at, is a conversion in progress. What you’re also seeing is a lot of website. I have to be careful as I don’t want to be acting prematurely, but I can get away with it for now, though, being on the edge and all, if I work cautiously. As long as I keep it all 100% valid I should be fine. And that I do well, I work and learn cautiously and I keep my page up to snuff.

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