World Wide Web Consortium Issues XHTML Basic as a W3C Recommendation

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XHTML Basic Provides the Key to Full Web Access to Mobile Devices

Read testimonials from W3C Members. -- 19 December 2000 -- Continuing its mission to create one Web for all users, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) today released XHTML Basic as a W3C Recommendation. The specification reflects cross-industry agreement on a set of markup language features that allows authors to create rich Web content deliverable to a wide range of devices, including mobile phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), pagers, and television-based Web browsers. 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 Basic Brings Both Simplicity and XML Power

In January 2000, W3C published the XHTML 1.0 Recommendation, which combined the well-known features of HTML with the power of XML. In another W3C specification entitled "Modularization of XHTML", W3C's HTML Working Group describes a mechanism that allows authors to mix and match content from well-defined subsets of XHTML 1.0 elements and attributes. The XHTML Basic Recommendation combines some of these XHTML modules in a manner well-suited to mobile Web applications.

"Interoperability has always been essential to the Web," said Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director. "The simplicity of early versions of HTML made interoperability easy. While XHTML 1.0 is a powerful language, support for the full XHTML 1.0 feature set may be too much to expect browsers on cell phones and other small devices to handle. XHTML Basic offers the simplicity and wide interoperability of early versions of HTML and reflects ten years of Web experience, including advances in XML and accessibility."

XHTML Basic Delivers the Web to Mobile Devices

XHTML Basic is designed so that it may be implemented by all user agents, including mobile devices, television-based devices, and other small Web devices.

"The minimalist nature of the XHTML Basic document type ensures that all Web clients, including mobile phones, PDAs, pagers, set-top boxes, and PCs, can support a common subset of XHTML," said Dave Raggett, W3C Fellow and Senior Architect at Openwave Systems Inc. "XHTML Basic provides a powerful building block for use across increasingly diverse platforms, and can be extended with various specialized markup such as for multimedia (SMIL), mathematics (MathML), vector graphics (SVG), and forms (XForms)."

XHTML Basic Enjoys Wireless Industry Support, Authoring Tools

The XHTML Basic specification is the result of significant collaborative efforts of the W3C HTML Working Group, including participants from AOL/Netscape; CWI; Ericsson; IBM; Intel; Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.; Microsoft; Mozquito Technologies; Openwave Systems Inc.; Philips Electronics; Quark Inc.; and Sun Microsystems. In addition, the Working Group integrated feedback from the W3C Mobile Access Interest Group and the WAP Forum in an effort to ensure demonstrable functionality in wireless devices. Many industry players support, or have plans to support, XHTML Basic, including the WAP Forum (WAP Forum testimonial).

Today, content developers interested in making XHTML Basic documents can create them with W3C's own browser/editor, Amaya.

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 480 organizations are Members of the Consortium. For more information see


Access Co. Ltd. | AOL/Netscape | Digital Channel Partners Ltd. | Ericsson | J-Phone East Co., Ltd. | NTT DoCoMo, Inc. | Openwave Systems Inc. | Panasonic | Sun Microsystems, Inc. | Toshiba Corp. | WAP Forum

XHTML Basic is the important basis both for Wireless Internet services and for Internet-access enabling small information appliances such as cellular phones. Since ACCESS submitted "Compact HTML" specification to W3C in 1998, ACCESS has been involved in defining XHTML Basic as a micro browser supplier. ACCESS is very pleased by the release of XHTML Basic as a co-editor of this specification. ACCESS has released more than 10 million copies of cHTML micro browser, especially for NTT DoCoMo's i-mode phones. For coming 3G Wireless Internet services, XHTML Basic will become the common and extensible service platform for cellular phones. We plan to support XHTML Basic in our micro browser "Compact NetFront".
-- Tomihisa Kamada, Executive Vice President and CTO, Access Co. Ltd.

The XHTML Basic Specification is the first specification to incorporate Modularization of XHTML, a means to extending XHTML onto the newer platforms. This will significantly increase the adoption of XHTML and will provide a more robust and flexible content authoring environment. Netscape will continue to work within the W3C to define innovative standards such as the XHTML Basic Specification and, through the open source development initiative at, to support these standards in Netscape 6.
-- Jim Hamerly, Vice President of the Client Product Division at Netscape

XHTML Basic promises to become the foundation upon which further Web access standards will be built. At Digital Channel Partners, we believe that any company that builds a device-generic strategy with XHTML Basic at the heart of the front end is strongly positioned for development towards progressive and convergent technologies and practices. Digital Channel Partners believes that XHTML Basic will become the ubiquitous presentation layer for all Web applications across all Web platforms. We applaud the foresight, determination and judgement that the W3C has employed in crafting such a robust proposed standard. We look forward to bringing this Recommendation to our clients and continuing to work within the W3C and with our partners to develop further related standards.
-- Daniel K. Appelquist, Head of Research and Development, Digital Channel Partners Ltd.

Ericsson welcomes the release of XHTML Basic as a W3C Recommendation. We have long felt the need for a subset of XHTML that Web authors can write to in order to reach the maximum range of Web clients with different capabilities; especially including mobile phones. Furthermore, XHTML Basic brings XHTML to mobile phones with all the benefits of XML, and without the baggage of existing HTML features that are not served well in constrained devices.
-- Thomas Carnehult, Strategic Product Manager, Ericsson

XHTML Basic is the core of mobile phone markup languages and J-Phone Group is pleased to see that it has become a W3C Recommendation. We have been deploying mobile Internet services such as E-mail and WWW access for several years in Japan, and believe that mobile phones will become the most familiar Internet appliance in the ubiquitous communication society of the future. The standardization of mobile phone markup languages is very important. From this perspective, J-Phone actively supports XHTML Basic as the common language for Internet appliances.
-- Kyoichiro Kouri, Chief Operating Officer, J-PHONE EAST Co., Ltd. EAST

NTT DoCoMo is delighted to see the advancement of XHTML Basic. In our almost 2 years experience of running "i-mode", we have been a quite successful for providing mobile Internet service. The greatest achievement of "i-mode" service is its content development. In this context, our choice of adopting an HTML subset as the Markup Language, was the key to maximizing the variation and quality of contents. Therefore, we expect that XHTML Basic would satisfy our requirement for the next step of content description. We strongly believe that this evolution is vital for the continuous success of wireless Internet applications.
-- Keiichi Enoki, Member of the Board and Managing Director, Gateway Business Department, NTT DoCoMo, Inc.

Openwave's contribution to the development of XHTML and XHTML Basic demonstrates our dedication to open standards, innovation, and delivering Internet-based communications anywhere, anytime, over any device. XHTML Basic is a significant step forward in the development of a universal Web and the cornerstone in expanding the potential of mobile services.
-- Bruce Martin, Vice President, Technology, Openwave Systems Inc.

Panasonic is very pleased that the XHTML Basic specification has been approved as a W3C Recommendation. XHTML Basic will take a very significant role as the common denominator for the universal Web access with digital home appliances, such as digital TV sets or cellular phones. As one of the leading companies for digital home appliances, Panasonic highly expects that XHTML Basic will become the foundation for a wide variety of Web appliances.
-- Yasunori Tanaka, General Manager, Core Software Development Center, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.

Sun Microsystems joined the WAP Forum in June of 1999 with the goal of motivating the convergence of the WAP protocols to those of both the IETF and W3C. The publication of XHTML Basic as a W3C Recommendation will surely help to solidify support in the WAP Forum for XHTML Basic as part of WAP's next-generation architecture requirements.
-- Bill Yeager, Senior Software Architect for Java Wireless Solutions, Sun Microsystems

Toshiba is pleased to see that XHTML Basic has become a W3C Recommendation. XHTML Basic will provide a base framework for Web services delivery to various devices, including PDAs and mobile phones. Toshiba already has many Web services for mobile phones, providing the same service in different languages. We believe that XHTML Basic will enable efficient and effective development of Web services.
-- Tsutomu Kawada, Vice President of iValue Creation Company, Toshiba Corporation

The WAP Forum applauds W3C's Recommendation of XHTML Basic. As mobile devices continue to become fully integrated into the world of Internet access, XHTML offers developers the opportunity to use consistent, familiar tools to bring compelling content to a variety of devices, including the mobile user community. Accordingly, the WAP forum is basing its next generation markup language specification on XHTML.
-- Scott Goldman, CEO, WAP Forum

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