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What Is XHTML?

When XML was first released, you might have heard that it was going to "replace HTML." That was never really a possibility because XML is a meta-language, meaning it is a language used to create other markup languages. The real intent has always been to recast HTML according to the rules of XML. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has completed this work and the result is the Extensible Hypertext Markup Language, or XHTML. XHTML 1.0 became a W3C Recommendation in January 2000 and it now falls to the Web community to embrace the new standard. For browser companies, this means reprogramming their browsers to work with XHTML code. For content developers, it means learning the ins and outs of the language.

By and large, XHTML is very much like HTML, so there are not a lot of new elements and attributes to learn. The biggest change for developers will be that all of XHTML's syntax rules must be followed or your document will not be rendered. This is vastly different from the way browsers work now. If you write an HTML document with syntax errors, most browsers will just gloss over them and render the document anyway. This kind of forgiving behavior will no longer be possible with XHTML.


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