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Preface > HTML Versus XHTML

HTML Versus XHTML

It’s not Latin, but HTML has reached middle age in standard Version 4.01. The W3C has no plans to develop another version and has officially said so. Rather, HTML is being subsumed and modularized as an Extensible Markup Language (XML). Its new name is XHTML, Extensible Hypertext Markup Language.

The emergence of XHTML is just another chapter in the often tumultuous history of HTML and the Web, where confusion for authors is the norm, not the exception. At the worst point, the elders of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) responsible for accepted and acceptable uses of the language -- i.e., standards -- lost control of the language in the browser “wars” between Netscape and Microsoft. The abortive HTML+ standard never got off the ground, and HTML 3.0 became so bogged down in debate that the W3C simply shelved the entire draft standard. HTML 3.0 never happened, despite what some opportunistic marketers claimed in their literature. Instead, by late 1996, the browser manufacturers convinced the W3C to release HTML standard Version 3.2....


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