World Wide Web Consortium Issues XHTML 1.1 and Ruby Annotation as W3C Recommendations

Two New Specifications Deliver Enhanced Modularity and Internationalization Support

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Janet Daly, <janet@w3.org>, +1.617.253.5884 or +1.617.253.2613
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Marie-Claire Forgue, <mcf@w3.org>, +33.492.38.75.94
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Saeko Takeuchi <saeko@w3.org>, +81.466.49.1170

(also available in French and Japanese)

http://www.w3.org/ -- 31 May 2001 -- The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) today announced the publication of two W3C Recommendations: XHTML 1.1 and Ruby Annotation. XHTML 1.1 defines a new XHTML document type that is based upon the modularization framework and modules defined in Modularization of XHTML, and serves as the basis for future extended XHTML 'family' document types. Ruby Annotation provides an XHTML module for expressing short runs of text alongside base text, typically used in East Asian documents to indicate pronunciation or to provide a short annotation.

A W3C Recommendation indicates that a specification is stable, contributes to Web interoperability, and has been reviewed by the W3C Membership, who are in favor of supporting its adoption by academic, industry, and research communities.

XHTML 1.1 Provides Clean Web Foundation through Modularity

XHTML 1.1 is the latest development in a series of W3C work to ensure the universality of content formats for the Web.

The first step was to reformulate HTML 4in Extensible Markup Language (XML), resulting in XHTML 1.0. Like HTML 4, the reformulation carried three variants: Strict; Frameset; and Transitional. These gave content developers, often not accustomed to producing valid markup, choices in markup, though not choices that could be supported by all devices. The next step was to modularize the elements and attributes into convenient collections for use in documents that combine XHTML with other tagsets. The modules are defined in Modularization of XHTML. XHTML Basic is an example of fairly minimal build of these modules and is targeted at mobile applications. XHTML 1.1 is an example of a larger build of the modules, avoiding many of the presentation features.

XHTML 1.1 defines a new XHTML document type that is based upon the framework and modules defined in Modularization of XHTML. This document type is designed to be portable to a broad collection of client devices, and applicable to the majority of Internet content. Content developers who base their content upon XHTML 1.1 can trust that it will be consistently portable across user agents which support XHTML.

Ruby Annotation Delivers Critical Internationalization Features as an XHTML Module

Providing the underlying technologies that support the Web as a universal information space starts with XML, but goes beyond using markup in a valid way. For example, in Japanese and Chinese, it is common practice to put annotations in a very small font next to printed text to aid readers in pronunciation of rarer ideographic characters. These annotations are called "ruby," from the name British printers used to describe a 5.5 point type face. Ruby annotations regularly appear in Japanese magazines, as well as Chinese and Japanese textbooks.

While many international typography needs can be fulfilled through the use of style sheet languages such as CSS or XSL, additional markup is needed to define the relationship between the base text and its annotation. Ruby Annotation delivers this functionality to the Web in the form of an XHTML module, thus allowing ruby to be correctly rendered along with the basic text without using special workarounds or graphics. XHTML 1.1 includes the Ruby Annotation module, enhancing XHTML 1.1's power and extensibility.

International Efforts Produce Interoperable, Extensible Web Technologies

The W3C HTML Working Group and the W3C Internationalization Working Group produced these W3C Recommendations and provided the early implementations and coordination needed to ensure the stability and utility of both specifications. The W3C HTML Working Group consists of key industry leaders and experts, including Applied Testing and Technology, CWI, Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. (Panasonic), Microsoft, Mozquito Technologies, Netscape/AOL, Openwave Systems, Opera Software, Philips Electronics, Quark Inc., Sun Microsystems, and WebGeek, Inc. The W3C Internationalization Working Group includes representatives from Alis Technologies, IBM, Microsoft, Progress Software, Reuters, Sun Microsystems, the Unicode Consortium and Unisys.

Support for both specifications is international in scope, as evidenced by the testimonials received for these specifications.

About the World Wide Web Consortium [W3C]

The W3C was created to lead the Web to its full potential by developing common protocols that promote its evolution and ensure its interoperability. It is an international industry consortium jointly run by the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science (MIT LCS) in the USA, the National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA) in France and Keio University in Japan. Services provided by the Consortium include: a repository of information about the World Wide Web for developers and users, and various prototype and sample applications to demonstrate use of new technology. To date, over 500 organizations are Members of the Consortium. For more information see http://www.w3.org/