World Wide Web Consortium Issues XHTML 1.0 as a Recommendation

Author(s) and publish date


XHTML 1.0 Provides a Foundation for Device-Independent Web Access

Testimonials -- 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,, 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


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Testimonials for XHTML 1.0

Access Co. Ltd. | Ask Jeeves, Inc. | | CWI | Ericsson | Hewlett-Packard | HTML Writers Guild | IBM | Information Architects | Netscape Communications Corporation | Opera Software | | SoftQuad Software Inc.| Stack Overflow | Web3D Consortium | ZOT Group


Internet services and communications will be significantly extended by well-defined HTML in XML. Access expects the flexibility, extensibility, and modularity of XHTML 1.0 to handle various kinds of content, including multimedia data. Access is now supporting XHTML 1.0 in our browser NetFront for DTV (Digital Satellite Broadcasting) and also plans to support it in our micro browser, Compact NetFront, for small information appliances such as cellular phones.

-- Tomy Kamada, Executive Vice President and CTO, Access Co. Ltd.


XHTML 1.0 acts as a bridge between the first and second generation mark-up languages, and allows for seamless transition to XML use. Due to its' modular construction and greater flexibility, XHTML allows developers to create their own tags and add features specific to their purpose. This flexibility is a key component in Web-enabling wireless and handheld devices. Ask Jeeves intends to use XHTML 1.0 throughout their site, to both improve the user experience, enable easier site maintenance and increase time to market.

-- Daniel Austin, Senior Programmer and Web Site Architect, Ask Jeeves


As the first non-military Internet site in Europe, the CWI has always strived to be at the forefront of Internet technology. We see the release of XHTML 1.0 as an important step towards interoperable platform-independent documents, promoting the easier exchange of information.

-- Gerard van Oortmerssen, Director, CWI


XHTML 1.0 is a crucial step in the Web's evolution, from a simple means to link and share documents to a universal, device-independent platform for commerce in products, services and ideas. Modular and extensible, XHTML presents solutions to key challenges for as we develop our network of domains, we need to reach people all over the world, on all manner of devices. XHTML, XML, WAI, and the many other important W3C initiatives help to make this possible.

-- Michael Fergusson, VP, Design and Development,


Ericsson is very happy to see XHTML 1.0 made a W3C Recommendation. We are now able to see a realistic and rapid path for the convergence of the mobile and fixed-network Web. Mobile devices already use an XML-based markup language (WML), and convergence of WML towards XHTML, as well as use of data from the Web on mobile devices, is tremendously simplified by the W3C formalization of the XHTML specification. We have been working hard in both the W3C and the WAP Forum to enable this, and while a lot of work is yet to be done, this is a big step forward.

-- Kari Laihonen, Manager, IT Standardization, Corporate Technology, Ericsson


HP is thrilled about XHTML 1.0 becoming a W3C Recommendation. Our HP ChaiFarer Web browser supports XHTML for embedded systems, thereby allowing easy customization of the Web experience for different classes of devices.

-- William Woo, General Manager, Embedded Software, Hewlett-Packard


Extensibility, modularity, interoperability -- the XHTML 1.0 specification brings together the needs of the Web designer in a tidy XML-bas ed package. As the stepping stone between HTML and XML, XHTML allows a web creator to begin using XML today in web applications, while maintaining compatibility with existing HTML browsers.

-- Ann Navarro, Vice-President, HTML Writers Guild


XHTML is an important open standard that will help our e-business customers deploy to web applications on any browser via XML-enabled servers. IBM is excited by the power that XHTML will bring to pervasive computing as the need to deliver information to devices such as cell phones, PDAs and set top boxes grows exponentially.

-- Marie Wieck, Director of XML Technology, IBM Corp.


Information Architects welcomes XHTML becoming a W3C Recommendation. XHTML is essential in transitioning from legacy HTML-based authoring, content management, dynamic syndication and filtering tools to XML-based components. Our Metaphoria Framework is based on open standards, including XML and RDF. Our format conversion, template processing and content management tools all rely on XHTML to expose HTML semantics in XML context. In addition, XML-based technologies are critical for our aggregation and dynamic syndication solutions. We anticipate continued participation in W3C, and look forward to leveraging future XML and XHTML specifications.

-- Leon Shklar, VP of Advanced Technology, Information Architects


As a leading supporter of XML and HTML 4.0, Netscape is pleased by the release of the XHTML 1.0 Recommendation. XHTML provides a clean, fully XML-compliant syntax for the large amount of content already available on the Web and will make this content accessible to tools and applications that support XML. The Netscape/Mozilla browser currently in progress will provide full HTML 4.0 compliance making it a short, easy transition to XHTML 1.0 in a subsequent release. Content written in HTML 4.0 will migrate easily to XHTML. Together with other W3C standards like CSS, DOM, and XML, XHTML will provide greater structure, power, interoperability, and control for documents and data on the Internet.

-- Jim Hamerly, Vice President of Client Products, Netscape Communications Corporation - a subsidiary of America OnLine, Inc.


XHTML 1.0 takes the best of both worlds: the global semantics of HTML and the simple grammar of XML. The result is a document format which fulfills the needs of the Web for years to come. Opera's browser displays XHTML documents today.

-- Hakon Wium Lie, Chief Technical Officer, Opera Software


As an active member of the HTML Working Group and a leading proponent of the convergence of Web technologies, is very pleased by the release of the XHTML 1.0 specification as a W3C Recommendation. XHTML 1.0 lays the groundwork for the modularization to come in XHTML 1.1. Modularized XHTML will be the cornerstone in the foundation of the scalable web--where information, services and content will be universally accessible to a broad range of client devices, from computers and televisions to cellular phones and voice browsers.

-- Peter King, Director of Technolgy,


Recasting HTML in XML syntax combines two very important pieces of Web technology, thereby enabling a seamless transition to XML, the future of the Web. SoftQuad Software will support XHTML in our future products.

-- Bruce Sharpe, Chief Technology Officer, SoftQuad Software Inc.


XHTML is a significant step towards the future of the Web. As a light-weight successor to HTML 4, XHTML significantly reduces complexity and cost for both implementors and content developers, while offering greater flexibility. As HTML has now become part of the XML framework, interoperability and extensibility will enable a wide range of industries and communities to communicate, share knowledge and conduct business over the Web. We are fully committed to working with the W3C and plan to support future versions of XHTML in the Mozquito family of products.

-- Sebastian Schnitzenbaumer, CEO, Stack Overflow


The Web3D Consortium is a non-profit organization dedicated to the development and support of open standards for 3D graphics on the Web. We enthusiastically support XHTML advancement as a W3C Recommendation. Our concurrent efforts producing the Extensible 3D (X3D) Graphics specification benefit directly from XHTML progress. Authors will be able to produce rich multimedia content that includes X3D scenes, SVG, MathML, audio, video, and streaming events, all integrated compatibly within an XHTML hypermedia framework. We continue working with W3C activities to produce compatible and interoperable technologies.

-- Don Brutzman, Vice President of Technology, Web3D Consortium


W3C's Recommendation for XHTML provides the critical and immediate link between HTML and XML. With its extensible core architecture, XHTML enables site builders to develop more flexible Web pages and applications, as well as enhanced eCommerce functionality. XHTML 1.0 enables today's solutions to be easily built upon in the future -- moving beyond existing platform and browser constraints...beyond the desktop to any connected device: laptops, handheld computers, mobile phones, PDAs, 2-way pagers, and more. ZOT Group applauds W3C's efforts, and will continue to support their role in developing future XHTML specifications.

-- Sally Khudairi, CEO, ZOT Group

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