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Chapter Five. Modern Markup > Top 10 Reasons to Convert to XHTML

Top 10 Reasons to Convert to XHTML

  1. XHTML is the current markup standard, replacing HTML 4.

  2. XHTML is designed to work well with other XML-based markup languages, applications, and protocols—an advantage that HTML lacks.

  3. XHTML is more consistent than HTML, so it's less likely to cause problems of function and display.

  4. XHTML 1.0 is a bridge to future versions of XHTML. Should the XHTML 2 draft specification achieve final recommendation status, it will be easier to adapt to it (if you choose to do so) from XHTML 1.0 than from HTML.

  5. Old browsers are as comfortable with XHTML as they are with HTML. There's no advantage to XHTML in this regard, but, hey, there's no disadvantage either.

  6. New browsers love XHTML (particularly XHTML 1.0), and many accord it special treatment not granted to pages authored in HTML 4. This makes XHTML more predictable than HTML in many cases.

  7. XHTML works as well in wireless devices, screen readers, and other specialized User Agents as it does in traditional desktop browsers, in many cases removing the need to create specialized wireless markup versions and allowing sites to reach more visitors with less work and at lower cost. We can't be positive about cause and effect, but many HTML sites are saddled with wireless versions, text-only versions, and special printer-friendly pages, while most XHTML sites are free of such encumbrances—one document serves all. (In most cases, one document serves all if it's properly styled for multiple media, and that's what CSS is for.)

  8. XHTML is part of a family of web standards (also including CSS and the W3C Document Object Model) that let you control the behavior and appearance of web pages across multiple platforms, browsers, and devices.

  9. Authoring in XHTML can assist you in breaking the habit of writing presentational markup, and that in turn can help you avoid accessibility problems and inconsistencies of display between different manufacturers' desktop browsers. (If you write structural XHTML and place all or most of your visual flourishes in CSS, where they belong, you'll no longer be overly concerned about differences in the way Netscape and Microsoft's browsers treat, say, empty table cells to which widths have been applied.)

  10. Authoring in XHTML can get you into the habit of testing your work against Markup Validation Services, which in turn can often save testing and debugging time and help you avoid many basic accessibility errors, such as neglecting to include a usable alt attribute to every <IMG> tag. For much more on accessibility, see Chapter 14, “Accessibility Basics.”



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