World Wide Web Consortium Issues XHTML 1.0 as a Recommendation

XHTML 1.0 Provides a Foundation for Device-Independent Web Access

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http://www.w3.org/ -- 26 January 2000 -- The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) today releases the XHTML 1.0 specification as a W3C Recommendation. This new specification represents cross-industry and expert community agreement on the importance of XHTML 1.0 as a bridge to the Web of the future. A W3C Recommendation indicates that a specification is stable, contributes to Web interoperability, and has been reviewed by the W3C membership, who favor its adoption by the industry.

XHTML 1.0 Builds the Web of the Future, Now

HTML currently serves as the lingua franca for millions of people publishing hypertext on the Web. While that is the case today, the future of the Web is written in W3C's Extensible Markup Language (XML). XML is bringing the Web forward as an environment that better meets the needs of all its participants, allowing content creators to make structured data that can be easily processed and transformed to meet the varied needs of users and their devices.

In designing XHTML 1.0, the W3C HTML Working Group faced a number of challenges, including one capable of making or breaking the Web: how to design the next generation language for Web documents without obsoleting what's already on the Web, and how to create a markup language that supports device-independence.The answer was to take HTML 4, and rewrite it as an XML application. The first result is XHTML 1.0.

"XHTML 1.0 connects the present Web to the future Web," said Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director. "It provides the bridge to page and site authors for entering the structured data, XML world, while still being able to maintain operability with user agents that support HTML 4."

XHTML 1.0 Combines the Familiarity of HTML with the Power of XML

XHTML 1.0 allows authors to create Web documents that work with current HTML browsers and that may be processed by XML-enabled software as well. Authors writing XHTML use the well-known elements of HTML 4 (to mark up paragraphs, links, tables, lists, etc.), but with XML syntax, which promotes markup conformance.

The benefits of XML syntax include extensibility and modularity. With HTML, authors had a fixed set of elements to use, with no variation. With XHTML 1.0, authors can mix and match known HTML 4 elements with elements from other XML languages, including those developed by W3C for multimedia (Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language - SMIL), mathematical expressions (MathML), two dimensional vector graphics (Scalable Vector Graphics - SVG), and metadata (Resource Description Framework - RDF).

W3C provides instruction and tools for making the transition from HTML 4 to XHTML 1.0 . The "HTML Compatibility Guidelines" section of the XHTML 1.0 Recommendation explains how to write XHTML 1.0 that will work with nearly all current HTML browsers. W3C offers validation services for both HTML and XHTML documents. W3C's Open Source software "Tidy" helps Web authors convert ordinary HTML 4 into XHTML and clean document markup at the same time.

XHTML 1.0 Provides a Foundation for Device-Independent Web Access

In addition to its extensibility, moving from HTML to XML via XHTML 1.0 lays the foundation for making Web content available to millions more users. People browsing the Web with cell phones or other mobile devices want Web content tailored to their needs. People with disabilities need ways to transform content into accessible formats.

XML documents can already be transformed using Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations (XSLT), and rendered using independent style sheets such as CSS style sheets. XHTML 1.1, already under development, coupled with device-specific style sheets and Composite Capability/Preference Profiles (CC/PP) - a protocol which allows a user to describe both user preferences and device capabilities - will bring mobile and other devices to the Web as full participants.

Broad Industry Support, Multiple Implementations Already Available

The XHTML 1.0 Recommendation was written by members of the HTML working group, which includes key industry players such as Ask Jeeves, CNET, Gateway 2000, GMD, Hewlett-Packard, HTML Writers Guild, IBM, JetForm, Microsoft, MITRE, Philips Electronics, Phone.com, Quark, Stack Overflow, Sun Microsystems, and WebTV Networks.

In addition, many W3C members have announced XHTML 1.0 support in current products and committed to implementations in upcoming products, indicated in the wide range of testimonials.

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, reference code implementations to embody and promote standards, and various prototype and sample applications to demonstrate use of new technology. To date, over 390 organizations are Members of the Consortium. For more information see http://www.w3.org/