Monday, May 23, 2011

What is XHTML?

Around January of 2000 the World Wide Web consortium the group that works to define and establish web standards announce the move from the current standard at that time which was HTML 4.0 to the new standard XHTML. XHTML stands for Extensible Hyper Text Markup Language now over 8 years old this standard XHTML is no longer than new standard it is the standard markup language for creating web content. If you never learned HTML don’t let the prospect of learning XHTML intimated you. XHTML is actually easier to learn than HTML since it contains smaller set of tags and has stricter rules about what allows. Put simply XHTML marks the transition of HTML to XML as XHTML is a combination of these two. By moving towards XML our web content becomes more conscious and its easier for browsers than other user agents to browsing understand. Currently there are 3 versions of XHTML, strict, transitional and frame set. The version your web pages using is coded in the document type definition and helps validation tool know which rules should document should follow. Strict should be used when clean structural markup is the goal. Transitional steel allows some HTML for point 0 attributes making it ideal for backward compactable websites. Frameset is used when you need to use frame within your pages. XHTML transitional is by far the most used and what we will be using on our groundswell site. Although strict is gaining in popularity as older browser use to clients. XHTML comes with creative fine tags to structure it’s contain. In XHTML for example H1 doesn’t mean the biggest boldest heading, it means the most important. Tags have logical meaning and should be used consistently throughout your site. Although XHTML comes with the wide ray of tags to help convey meaning it doesn’t contain enough tags to fully describe everything within your site. There is no side bar or footer tag for example. To help further describe your page elements you will often use the ID and class attributes of tags to attach further meaning. We will talk more about IDs ad Classes later but they worth mentioning here so you will remember that they are used with to know logical structure of your site and not just creating the style. If all this made you a bit nervous don’t worry Dreamweaver makes the creation of XHTML super easy setting a single preference. Make sure that all code generated is exactly the flavor of XHTML that you need and that will conform to that flavor standards. When we define out sites later we’ll make sure that we set the version of XHTML we want use for the document creation and will be all set. If you want to learn more about XHTML you can browse to the World Wide Web consortium’s home page at Scrolling down you will see a list of topic somewhere left hand side and if you go all the way down the XHTML you can simply click on that and it will take you to the XHTML working groups home page. This page contains all the information that you will ever want to know about XHTML. So if you are looking for little like reading exact specification of XHTML.


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