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

Author(s) and publish date


Two New Specifications Deliver Enhanced Modularity and Internationalization Support

Testimonials -- 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


Contact America --
Janet Daly, <>, +1.617.253.5884 or +1.617.253.2613
Contact Europe --
Marie-Claire Forgue, <>, +33.492.38.75.94
Contact Asia --
Saeko Takeuchi <>, +81.466.49.1170

Testimonials for XHTML 1.1 and Ruby Annotation


ACCESS is very pleased by the release of XHTML 1.1 because it is the important base markup language for all kinds of information appliances such as TVs, PDAs, game consoles, car navigation systems, web phones, and mobile phones. ACCESS has already released more than 35 million copies of embedded browser for non-PC devices, especially for NTT DoCoMo's i-mode phones and SONY's PlayStation. We plan to support XHTML 1.1 and Ruby Annotation in our full functional browser "NetFront3" and micro browser "Compact NetFront".

-- Tomihisa Kamada, Executive Vice President and CTO, ACCESS Co. Ltd.


Applied Testing and Technology, Inc. is an industry leader in the development and testing of portable content. XHTML 1.1 represents a significant advance in this field. It provides a substantial base on which to develop content that is well-formed, valid, and both forward-looking and backward-compatible. ApTest is thrilled to see that this important markup language is now a W3C Recommendation. We expect to use it as the basis for our own markup language development, as well as the basis for all of our web-based test technology. In addition, we will encourage our clients to develop markup languages and content that are based upon XHTML Modularization, and that use XHTML 1.1 or XHTML Basic for their minimum portability model, as appropriate.

-- Shane P. McCarron, Managing Director, ApTest, Minnesota


The publication of XHTML 1.1 and Ruby Annotation as W3C Recommendations is a small but important step in the ongoing evolution of the Web. Ruby markup is an important addition to XHTML, in particular for Japan and East Asia. It can also easily be included into other XML-based document types. The application area that will benefit most directly is education. Ruby markup has been carefully designed by the W3C Internationalization Working Group in coordination with Japanese typesetting experts.

-- Nobuo Saito, Dean, Faculty of Environmental Information, Keio University; W3C Associate Chairman; Chair, Electronic Document Processing System Standardization Investigation and Research Committee, JIS


Netscape strongly endorses the W3C Recommendation covering Ruby Annotations. Ruby is an important text layout feature for both East Asian language display and annotations in traditional documents. Netscape applauds the efforts of the W3C Internationalization Working Group and will help promote the use of Ruby in XHTML documents. Netscape will support Ruby in adherence to the W3C XHTML recommendation, as well as forthcoming related CSS recommendations, through the open-source Mozilla project and in future versions of its award-winning Netscape web browser.

-- Jim Hamerly, Vice President of Netscape Client Product Development division


The ability to annotate in the Ruby style gives the Web a more natural and traditional feel for Asian users. Annotation provides comfort to novice users and makes them more likely to keep using the application. For more technical users, such as customers of our e-business development tools, annotation increases the comprehension of technical specifications and leads to more rapid development and successful projects. Improving the usability and efficiency of the Web is important to Progress and its OpenEdge(TM) e-business platform, and so Progress gladly contributed resources to create and advance this recommendation and actively supports W3C standards development.

-- Dennis NG, Managing Director, North Asia, the Progress Company


XHTML(tm) 1.1, coupled with NewsML(tm), provides us with a modular framework for the delivery of multimedia News to the broadest range of customers, end-users and devices. The XHTML Ruby module will enable us to provide our Japanese customers and end-users with a richer News experience, previously available only in printed media. We look forward to the development of additional XHTML modules, both by the W3C, and by other industry consortia.

-- Mike Sayers, Chief Technology Officer, Reuters Group


ACCESSは、ネット家電向けのブラウザをソフト「NetFrontシリーズ」を 開発しており、TV、PDA、ゲーム機、カーナビ、据え置き電話、携帯電話 など、あらゆる種類の家電機器に提供しています。現在、NTT DoCoMo のiモード携帯電話やソニーのPlayStation2をはじめ、3500万台以上の 機器に搭載されています。XHTML 1.1やRuby Annotationは、ネット家電 向けのサービスのベース技術として大変期待しており、ACCESSの ブラウザでもサポート予定です。

-- 鎌田 富久, 取締役副社長 兼 CTO, ACCESS


XHTML 1.1およびルビが W3C 勧告になったことは、 次々と発展するウェブ技術において,小さいながらも重要な一歩となります。 ルビのマーク付けにより、特に日本と東アジアにとって重要な 機能が XHTML に追加されます。 また、ルビのマーク付けは他の XML 形式の文書にも簡単に追加できます。 特に教育分野の利用では,その効果が如実に現れるでしょう。 ルビのマーク付けは W3C 国際化ワーキンググループおよび日本の組版専門家 が十分配慮して設計および制定をしました。

-- 斎藤信男, 慶應義塾大学環境情報学部長 / W3C アソシエートチェアマン / JIS 電子文書処理システム標準化調査研究委員会委員長

Related RSS feed