Working together for standards The Web Standards Project

Ever since XHTML was introduced in January of 2000, arguments as to its use and rationale have been flung about in numerous XML, markup, and Web design forums and lists. Publishing our recent WaSP coverage on serving XHTML with the proper MIME type helped stir up the old pot once again, with even advanced developers wondering just how XHTML has benefited them.

Certainly, there are many reasons why XHTML is important, but there are also legitimate concerns with regards to using it properly. In his article, Bulletproof XHTML on Mezzoblue, technical writer Evan Goer looks into the issue and provides us with helpful insight.

With all the attention being given to what should be an old issue, it’s becoming clear that we require better information in order to make good choices when it comes to the languages we use to author our documents. So backroom discussion this week at WaSP has led us to the decision that we should dig more deeply into XHTML: Why it is, what it’s best used for, how to use it properly, what the differences between versions are, and what XHTML 2.0 will bring (or deny) us.

For the time being, it’s important for anyone interested in standards to realize that authoring to standards doesn’t mean you must use XHTML! Why this basic point is so often missed is confusing. Choosing to author to standards really means understanding as much of a given specification as possible, using it intelligently, and validating documents to test for conformance. Whether you’re using XHTML 1.1 or HTML 3.2 to do this is really irrelevant. That you are working
with the real language, as it is written, and working to create documents that are conforming is key to rediscovering the interoperable platform the Web was meant to be.

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